Luna 1

Luna 1 became the first spacecraft to leave the vicinity of Earth’s gravity system on January 4, 1959.

Luna one was powered by mercury-oxide batteries and silver-zinc accumulators. There were five antennae on one hemispheric body. The spacecraft also included radio equipment, a tracking transmitter, and a telemetry system.

Luna 1 was the first spacecraft to leave Earth’s gravity, but it was designed to crash into the moon. Luna’s potential crash was supposed to deliver two metallic pennants with the Soviet coat of arms. It was also supposed to measure temperature and pressure inside the spacecraft, study the gas components of interplanetary matter, calculate the magnetic fields of the Earth and the moon, and study the distribution of heavy nuclei in primary cosmic radiation, among other things.

Luna one was launched on January 2nd, 1959. The first few stages of the launch went well, but since the engineers did not trust automated systems, the signal to stop firing was transmitted too late. In the end, Luna one missed its target by 5,995 kilometers or 3,725 miles. Nevertheless, the spacecraft passed the moon on January 4, after 34 hours of flight, and reached its unintended milestone.

Luna 1 ran out of battery power on January 5, 1959, when it was 597,000 kilometers, or 371,000 miles, from the Earth.

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