NEW DELHI: The success ratio of lunar missions undertaken in the last six decades is 60 per cent, according to US space agency Nasa’s ‘Moon Fact Sheet’. Of the 109 lunar missions during the period, 61 were successful and 48 had failed, it stated.
In the early hours of Saturday, Indian space agency Isro’s plan to soft land Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram module on the lunar surface did not go as per script.
The lander lost communication with ground stations during its final descent. Isro officials said, adding that the orbiter of Chandrayaan-2 — second lunar mission — remains healthy and safe.
This year, Israel, too, launched its lunar mission Beresheet in February 2018 but it crash landed in April.
From 1958 to 2019, India as well as the US, the USSR (now Russia), Japan, the European Union, China and Israel launched different lunar missions — from orbiters, landers and flyby (orbiting the Moon, landing on the Moon and flying by the Moon).
The first mission to the Moon was planned by the US in August 17, 1958, but the launch of Pioneer 0 was unsuccessful.
The first successful mission to the Moon was Luna 1 by the USSR on January 4, 1959. It was also the first ‘Moon flyby’ mission. The success had come only in the sixth mission.
In a span of a little more than a year, from August 1958 to November 1959, the US and the USSR launched 14 missions.
Of these, only three — Luna 1, Luna 2 and Luna 3 — were successful. All were launched by the USSR.
The Ranger 7 mission launched in July 1964 by the US was the first to take close-up pictures of the Moon.
The first lunar soft landing and first pictures from the lunar surface came from Luna 9, launched by the USSR in January 1966.
Five months later, in May 1966, the US successfully launched a similar mission Surveyor-1.