What Was the USSR’s First Manned Lunar Program and What Was the Soyuz Spacecraft Used For?

The USSR launched five missions (Zond 4-8) between 1968 and 1970, apparently as tests for a manned Moon landing, but the exact purpose of the missions has never been fully revealed to the scientific community.

The Soviet lunar program was dropped 3 years after U.S. astronauts Armstrong and Aldrin made it to the Moon and back.

The Soviet program seems to have depended on creating a new booster rocket.

The N-booster, as it was known, used a total of forty-four rocket engines in five stages to send a two-man Soyuz spacecraft to orbit the Moon and a one-man lunar module to land.

Rather than use a tunnel to reach the lunar module in space, a cosmonaut would have had to make a dangerous space walk to enter it.

The Soyuz spacecraft never made it to the Moon, but it has been a very useful vehicle in Earth’s orbit.

Soyuz derivatives provide Russia’s human spaceflight capability and are used to ferry personnel and supplies to and from the International Space Station.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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