Lunik 9 soft-lands on lunar surface
Feb 3, 1966:
On February 3, 1966, the Soviet Union accomplishes the first controlled landing on the moon, when the unmanned spacecraft Lunik 9 touches down on the Ocean of Storms. After its soft landing, the circular capsule opened like a flower, deploying its antennas, and began transmitting photographs and television images back to Earth. The 220-pound landing capsule was launched from Earth on January 31.
Lunik 9 was the third major lunar first for the Soviet space program: On September 14, 1959, Lunik 2 became the first manmade object to reach the moon when it impacted with the lunar surface, and on October 7 of the same year Lunik 3 flew around the moon and transmitted back to Earth the first images of the dark side of the moon. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the U.S. space program consistently trailed the Soviet program in space firsts–a pattern that shifted dramatically with the triumph of America’s Apollo lunar program in the late 1960s.
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This Week in History, Feb 3 – Feb 9
Feb 03, 1924 Woodrow Wilson dies Feb 03, 1953 Cousteau publishes The Silent World Feb 03, 1959 The day the music died Feb 03, 1966 Lunik 9 soft-lands on lunar surface Feb 03, 1994 Clinton ends Vietnam trade embargo Feb 04, 1789 First U.S. president elected Feb 04, 1861 States meet to form Confederacy Feb 04, 1969 PLO is founded Feb 05, 1631 Roger Williams arrives in America Feb 05, 1917 Mexican constitution proclaimed Feb 05, 1917 Immigration act passed over Wilson’s veto Feb 05, 1937 Roosevelt announces “court-packing” plan Feb 05, 1988 Noriega indicted on U.S. drug charges Feb 06, 1820 Freed U.S. slaves depart on journey to Africa Feb 06, 1928 Anastasia arrives in the United States Feb 07, 1904 The Great Baltimore Fire begins Feb 07, 1984 First human satellite Feb 07, 1992 European Union treaty signed Feb 07, 1999 King Hussein of Jordan dies Feb 08, 1587 Mary Queen of Scots beheaded Feb 08, 1725 Peter the Great dies Feb 08, 1904 The Russo-Japanese War begins Feb 08, 1915 Birth of a Nation opens Feb 08, 1924 First execution by lethal gas Feb 09, 1825 Presidential election decided in the House Feb 09, 1900 Davis Cup competition established Feb 09, 1942 Normandie burns in New York Feb 09, 1950 McCarthy accuses State Department of communist infiltration