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On This Day in Space: Oct. 20, 1970: Soviet Union launches the last 'Zond' Moon mission

On Oct. 20, 1970, the Soviet Union launched the Zond 8 spacecraft on a mission to the moon. This was the last mission in the Zond program.

After the first three Zond missions explored Venus and Mars, the next ones were circumlunar missions that flew around the moon before returning to Earth. Although there was no crew on board, the Zond spacecraft was designed with cosmonauts in mind.

The Zond missions served as test flights for the Soviet Union's plans to send cosmonauts to the moon. But those plans for crewed flights never came to fruition. This was partly because the U.S. had already put astronauts on the moon, but also because the Zond missions had a lot of technical problems.

Zond 8 was considered a success — even though its guidance system malfunctioned on the way back to Earth. The spacecraft still returned to Earth safely and splashed down in the Indian Ocean one week after it launched.

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  • The Exoplanets Channel
    Very interesting
    Reply
  • Arc Light
    Just so you know, the X-15 took off from Edwards AFB under the wing of a B-52 & was airdropped over Delamar Dry Lake, Nevada. The flight to the altitude record wasn't planned, but the rocket engine burned for two seconds longer than expected. The test flight was scheduled to peak at 280,000', but actually reached 314, 750' due to the extra rocket burn time.
    Reply
  • Fourth Root
    Misleading wording. Bob White did not set the world altitude record on July 17th, 1962. Four Astronauts and two cosmonauts had flown higher prior to his flight. One could say it was the highest manned flight of a winged craft. But that's not the wording that was used.
    Reply
  • DrRaviSharma
    On this date in 1969, I was part of NASA Apollo Team

    Contributed to Experiments in orbit and on Surface of Moon (ALSEP) etc.also trained astronauts

    Studied containation on and ouside Spacecraft.

    The Moon gave me employment to work for 5 Years on exciting Human Space flight Programs Skylab, Planning of Space Station and Space Shuttle

    See My picture taken with Buzz Aldrin in 2009
    https://www.space.com/india-moon-landing-not-a-failure.html
    I received Apollo Achievement Award from NASA dated July 20, 1969.

    Thanks Hanneke Weitering for today's Historic post

    Ravi
    Dr. Ravi Sharma
    Reply