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April 12, 2016 AT 5:09 pm

50 Years Ago: Humanity’s ‘First Lunar Orbiter Was Programmed to Sing Communist Anthems’

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But before the US ultimately overtook the USSR with the Apollo program, the Luna program scored a few more important “firsts” with Luna 9 and 10. In contrast to the program’s years of ill-fated soft-landing attempts, Luna 10 was only the Soviets’ second shot at placing a satellite into lunar orbit. This achievement helped to counteract the dizzying freefall of the Luna program over the preceding five years, and helped to somewhat recover its reputation and image worldwide.

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