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The Zond That Pushed Apollo to the Moon

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The Zond That Pushed Apollo to the Moon

The Soviet Union began two lunar programs in the 1960s. Luna, which culminated with the twin Lunokhod rovers in the 1970s, was designed to robotically explore the the lunar surface and environment. Zond was an exploration probe with both a lunar and a planetary version.

Zond 1 launched towards Venus while Zonds 2 and 3 went towards Mars, the latter taking pictures of the Moon on its way. Zonds 4 through 8 were aimed squarely at the moon. These were the preliminary tests for manned circumlunar missions. Zond 5 stands out as the first to carry a living payload.

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