Luna 4An unmanned Soviet lunar lander, Luna 4, is launched from the USSR’s Baikonur Cosmodrome. Unlike Luna 2, which intentionally crashed into the moon with no attempt to slow its approach, Luna 4 is the first atempt at a vehicle intended to survive its descent to the lunar surface and make observations from the ground. A failed course correction engine burn leaves the 3,000-pound vehicle in a wide, looping orbit around the Earth, unable to reach the moon at all. The Soviet Union, after several more attempts, will eventually achieve the first unmanned soft landing on the surface of the moon three years later.