Surveyor 1, in 1966, was America's first successful soft landing on the Moon, four months after the Soviets achieved a soft landing. Surveyor 3 through 7 all landed successfully on the Moon. Surveyor 3 took soil samples (without returning them), and all four missions prepared the American space program for manned missions to the Moon.
The series of Lunar Orbiters in 1966 and 1967 were all used to make photographs of possible landing sites for later missions.
Once in orbit, Soyuz 1, piloted by Valeri Komarov, was to have docked with Soyuz 2 and its crew of three.After the docking was complete, two engineers from Soyuz 2 were to transfer from Soyuz 2 to Soyuz 1 and return home with Komarov.The launch of Soyuz 2 never happened, it is believed, because of some trouble Soyuz 1 experienced on reaching orbit. Immediately after reaching orbit, one of the solar panels on Soyuz 1 failed to deploy. Although Soyuz 1 received only half of the planned solar power, an attempt was made to maneuver the spacecraft.
The decision was then made to bring Komarov back. Reentry was successful and the drag chute deployed. However, due to a failure of a pressure sensor, the main parachute would not deploy. Komarov released the reserve chute, but it became tangled with the drag chute. The descent module crashed into a field near Orenburg at 7 a.m., killing Komarov. There had been discussions of problems and dangers before the flight, and some sources claim that Komarov himself did not expect to survive the flight. Controversy followed the disaster, of course, including poignant claims that the crash site was not handled correctly and that Young Pioneers later came to give some of
April 22 and 23, 1967
Komarov's abandoned remains a good burial.This terrible space disaster put back Soviet lunar program 18 months. Despite the tragedy of the early flight, the Soyuz spacecraft went on to become the longest-serving spacecraft in history, continuing to be in use well past the turn of the millennium.
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