Timeline of Artificial Satellites

Events

Pioneer 3

December 6, 1958

Did not reach moon as intended, but discovered a second radiation belt around Earth

Luna 1

January 2, 1959

The first spacecraft to reach the vicinity of the moon

Pioneer 4

March 3, 1959

Passed within 60,030 km of the moon into a heliocentric orbit

Explorer 6

August 7, 1959

Included instruments to study particles and meteorology

Luna 2

September 12, 1959

The first spacecraft to reach the surface of the moon

Luna 3

October 4, 1959

The first mission to photograph the Far Side of the Moon

Explorer 7

October 13, 1959

Provided data on energetic particles, radiation, and magnetic storms