What Was the First Soviet Spacecraft To Fly By the Moon and When Did Luna 2 Reach the Surface of the Moon?

The first attempt by the USSR to crash-land a satellite on the Moon, in 1959, came close to succeeding.

No one as yet had the technology for a safe, soft landing.

The satellite, Lunik I, also known as Mechta or Luna, flew by the Moon at a distance of only 3,300 miles (5,280 km).

Lunik 2, launched on September 12, 1959, succeeded in crashing on the Moon.

Lunik 3 was launched into space the following month and sent back the first photographs of the far side of the Moon from orbit.