March 31, 1966The Soviet Union launches Luna 10 which later becomes the first space probe to enter orbit around the Moon.
Luna 10 (E-6S series) was a Soviet Luna program, robotic spacecraft mission, also called Lunik 10. The Luna 10 spacecraft was launched towards the Moon from an Earth orbiting platform on March 31, 1966. It was the first artificial satellite of the Moon (or another heavenly body, for that matter). The spacecraft entered lunar orbit on April 3, 1966 and completed its first orbit 3 hours later (on April 4, Moscow time). Scientific instruments included a gamma-ray spectrometer for energies between 0.3—3 MeV (50–500 pJ), a triaxial magnetometer, a meteorite detector, instruments for solar-plasma studies, and devices for measuring infrared emissions from the Moon and radiation conditions of the lunar environment. Gravitational studies were also conducted. The spacecraft played back to Earth The Internationale
during the Twenty-third Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Luna 10 was battery powered and operated for 460 lunar orbits and 219 active data transmissions before radio signals were discontinued on May 30, 1966.
April 26, 1962NASA's Ranger 4 spacecraft crashes into the Moon.
Ranger 4 was a spacecraft of the Ranger program designed to transmit pictures of the lunar surface to Earth stations during a period of 10 minutes of flight prior to crashing upon the Moon, to rough-land a seismometer capsule on the Moon, to collect gamma-ray data in flight, to study radar reflectivity of the lunar surface, and to continue testing of the Ranger program for development of lunar and interplanetary spacecraft. An onboard computer failure caused failure of the deployment of the solar panels and navigation systems; as a result the spacecraft crashed on the far side of the Moon without returning any scientific data.