Chandrayaan-2: Apart From India, Here are Four Other Nations to Have Been on Moon
India is set to launch its second mission to the moon, becoming part of the elite few nations to have done so including the US, erstwhile USSR, China and Japan.
GSLV MarkIII-M1 vehicle coming out of the Vehicle Assembly Building (Image: isro.gov.in)
Chandrayaan-2 | India is going to launch its much-awaited Moon mission Chandrayaan-2 on July 15 at 2:51 am from Shriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. This will be Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) second mission to the Moon after Chandrayaan-1. Chandrayaan-2 satellite is likely to land on the Moon near the South Pole in about 50 days from the launch date (September 6 or 7).
Other than India, here are the four nations that have sent missions to the moon:
1. United States: The United States of America is the only country to have sent a manned mission to Moon. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) carried out the famous moon landings including the one in 1969 that took the first man to the moon, Neil Armstrong. Earlier, US also sent unmanned probes to moon. The country has also sent several other mission after 1969, with the latest one being LADEE probe mission, launched on September 7, 2013.
2. The USSR: A strong competitor of the USA since Cold War days, the Former Soviet Union of Russia has sent many probe missions to moon. While the Soviets sent the first man into space, Yuri Gagarin, they were defeated by the US in sending the first manned mission to Moon. With many unnamed missions, the last Russian mission launched by Russian aerospace company NPO Lavochkin was Luna 24 in the year 1976.
3. China: China is yet another super-power nation to have sent a mission to the moon. The country, along with China National Space Administration (CNSA), launched its first lunar mission on October 24, 2007, named as Chang’e-1. In 2013, China’s Chang-e 3 made an unmanned landing on the moon. The Change’4 – also launched by China – was the first spacecraft to reach the far side of the moon. This occurred on January 3, 2019.
4. Japan: Another nation to mark its presence on Moon is Japan. Japan launched two orbits: the Hiten and Selene. Both orbited the moon before crashing on its surface as planned. While the Hiten was launched on January 24, 1990, and crashed on April 10, 1993, the Selene orbiter was launched on September 14, 2007, and crashed on June 10, 2009.
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