1959-10-04 USSR Luna 3

Follow the success of Luna 2, the Soviet Union launched Luna 3 on 4 October 1959. Luna 3 was the first circumlunar probe to take pictures of the far side of the moon. It was uncertain how many pictures the spacecraft returned, but three images were released to the public, as well as a composite image of the full disc of the moon's far side, which was made up of several frames. As a result of these pictures, the Soviet Union were the first to name features on the far side of the moon.


Luna 3 stamps on FDC.
Luna 3's trajectory took the spacecraft from Earth, around the moon and back. It reentered the earth's atmosphere on April 20, 1960.