14 Sep: Moscow Shoots For The Moon

The USSR pulled ahead in the Space Race on 14th September, 1959 – when they became the first nation to successfully crash a man-made object into the Moon.

Luna II was carrying a metal sphere bearing Soviet symbols, a replica of which was pettily presented to President Eisenhower by a jubilant Nikita Khrushchev.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly reveal how Nixon and Kennedy then went on to frame – and win – the ‘Space Race’; examine the ‘love-hate’ relationship British astronomer Bernard Lovell had with the Luna project; and uncover the ultimate punishment the Americans administered to Khrushchev on his Stateside tour… 

Further Reading:

• ‘The sixtieth anniversary of the first human created object to land on the Moon, Luna 2’ (British Library, 2019): https://blogs.bl.uk/science/2019/09/the-sixtieth-anniversary-of-the-first-human-created-object-to-land-on-the-moon-luna-2.html

• ‘The Other First Moon Landing’ (Vice, 2016): https://www.vice.com/en/article/pgkq59/the-other-first-moon-landing-luna-two-anniversary]

• ‘Luna 2 (USSR)’ (International Astronautical Federation):