In 1969, there was a secret moon race between the US and Soviets, where Luna 15 failed, while Apollo 11 made history. Had it not been for the technical failure of the Russian space vehicle, which could have made Russia the first country on the moon.

This would be the minor known failure of the Soviets to send their spacecraft to the far side of the moon, not where the Apollo mission set down. The US won the race to the moon in 1969, despite the Kremlin's lead.

Russia reached the moon first before the US

About 62 years ago, Russia's Luna 2 space vehicle got the lead over the US in the space race then. In the early days of space exploration, the Luna 1 was able to reach the moon. It was the first manufactured machine to visit the moon, and Russia made it, reported the Express UK.

Despite the primitive technology then, it was the first-ever manufactured object to visit beyond the Earth. About a decade later, America's Apollo 11 and its famous astronauts, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walk on another world on Earth's moon. The Soviets did not want the Apollo 11 to hog the limelight and sent their Luna 15 mission to the moon even as Americans prepped the historic moon mission, not knowing they were embroiled in the first race to the moon.

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US, Russia was in a secret race to reach the moon first 

One reason for the move that led to the same timing of the Apollo mission is to get samples and more knowledge about the moon. The Soviets achieved landmark achievements in Space Race during the Cold War. It was Yuri Gagarin, the first person in space, and Alexei Leonov did the historic spacewalk, and another is the Luna 3 mission that made the first flyby on the far side of the moon.

In 1961, US President John F. Kennedy said the US would put their first man on the moon in ten years, which pushed the soviets to play for keeps, cited History.

According to NASA, the Soviets sent their probe to space about three days earlier than the Apollo lunar mission. But it was to get moon soil back to the Earth, noted Sandboxx.

The objectives of the two space programs to reach the moon and go back to Earth are crucial in the direction their space programs took. In the 1960s, these differences determined who would be successful in getting to the moon sooner.

The Soviet spacecraft touched lunar orbit on July 17, 1969, a whole 48-hours ahead when the American craft was still on the way. The Luna space vehicle nearly got destroyed when one of its fuel tanks boiled when exposed to the sun. However, course corrections allowed it to reach the moon.

Upon landing, the lunar surface was not easy to set down on. NASA recorded that Apollo 11 landed on the moon on July 20, 1969. Luna 15 was supposed to land on the moon about two hours after the Americans. However, it was delayed by 18-hours instead. Later, Neil A. Armstrong and Edwin E. 'Buzz' Aldrin made the first human walk on the moon.

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