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Visualizing All Attempted and Successful Moon Landings

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All successful and attempted moon landings.

Visualizing All Attempted and Successful Moon Landings

Since before Ancient Greece and the first Chinese Dynasties, people have sought to understand and learn more about the moon.

Curiosity and centuries of study culminated in the first moon landing in the 1960s. But there have been many other attempted moon landings, both before and after.

This chart by Preyash Shah illustrates all the moon landings using NASA data since 1966 when Soviet lander Luna 9 touched down.

Race to the Moon

The 1960s and 1970s marked an era of intense competition between the U.S. and the Soviet Union as they raced to conquer the moon.

During the Cold War, space became a priority as each side sought to prove the superiority of its technology, its military firepower, and its political-economic system.

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy set a national goal to have a crewed lunar landing and return to Earth.

After several failed attempts from both sides, on July 20, 1969, the Apollo 11 mission was successful and astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on the moon.

MissionLaunch DateOperatorCountryMission TypeOutcome
Ranger 326-Jan-62NASA🇺🇸 U.S.LanderSpacecraft failure
Ranger 423-Apr-62NASA🇺🇸 U.S.LanderSpacecraft failure
Ranger 518-Oct-62NASA🇺🇸 U.S.LanderSpacecraft failure
Luna E-6 No.24-Jan-63 OKB-1☭ USSRLanderLaunch failure
Luna E-6 No.33-Feb-63 OKB-1☭ USSRLanderLaunch failure
Luna 42-Apr-63 OKB-1☭ USSRLanderSpacecraft failure
Luna E-6 No.621-Mar-64 OKB-1☭ USSRLanderLaunch failure
Luna E-6 No.520-Apr-64 OKB-1☭ USSRLanderLaunch failure
Kosmos 6012-Mar-65 Lavochkin☭ USSRLanderLaunch failure
Luna E-6 No.810-Apr-65 Lavochkin☭ USSRLanderSpacecraft failure
Luna 59-May-65 Lavochkin☭ USSRLanderSpacecraft failure
Luna 68-Jun-65 Lavochkin☭ USSRLanderSpacecraft failure
Luna 74-Oct-65 Lavochkin☭ USSRLanderSpacecraft failure
Luna 83-Dec-65 Lavochkin☭ USSRLanderSpacecraft failure
Luna 931-Jan-66 Lavochkin☭ USSRLanderSuccessful
Surveyor 130-May-66 NASA🇺🇸 U.S.LanderSuccessful
Surveyor 220-Sep-66 NASA🇺🇸 U.S.LanderSpacecraft failure
Luna 1321-Dec-66 Lavochkin☭ USSRLanderSuccessful
Surveyor 317-Apr-67 NASA🇺🇸 U.S.LanderSuccessful
Surveyor 414-Jul-67 NASA🇺🇸 U.S.LanderSpacecraft failure
Surveyor 58-Sep-67 NASA🇺🇸 U.S.LanderSuccessful
Surveyor 67-Nov-67 NASA🇺🇸 U.S.LanderSuccessful
Surveyor 77-Jan-68 NASA🇺🇸 U.S.LanderSuccessful
Luna E-8 No.20119-Feb-69 Lavochkin☭ USSRLanderLaunch failure
Luna E-8-5 No.40214-Jun-69 Lavochkin☭ USSRLanderLaunch failure
Luna 1513-Jul-69 Lavochkin☭ USSRLanderSpacecraft failure
Apollo 1116-Jul-69NASA🇺🇸 U.S.Lander/
Launch Vehicle
Successful
Kosmos 30023-Sep-69 Lavochkin☭ USSRLanderLaunch failure
Kosmos 30522-Oct-69 Lavochkin☭ USSRLanderLaunch failure
Apollo 1214-Nov-69NASA🇺🇸 U.S.Lander/
Launch Vehicle
Successful
Luna E-8-5 No.4056-Feb-70 Lavochkin☭ USSRLanderLaunch failure
Apollo 1311-Apr-70NASA🇺🇸 U.S.Lander/
Launch Vehicle
Partial failure
Luna 1612-Sep-70 Lavochkin☭ USSRLanderSuccessful
Luna 1710-Nov-70 Lavochkin☭ USSRLanderSuccessful
Apollo 1431-Jan-71NASA🇺🇸 U.S.Lander/
Launch Vehicle
Successful
Apollo 1526-Jul-71NASA🇺🇸 U.S.Lander/
Launch Vehicle
Successful
Luna 182-Sep-71 Lavochkin☭ USSRLanderSpacecraft failure
Luna 2014-Feb-72 Lavochkin☭ USSRLanderSuccessful
Apollo 1616-Apr-72NASA🇺🇸 U.S.Lander/
Launch Vehicle
Successful
Apollo 177-Dec-72NASA🇺🇸 U.S.Lander/
Launch Vehicle
Successful
Luna 218-Jan-73 Lavochkin☭ USSRLanderSuccessful
Luna 2316-Oct-75 Lavochkin☭ USSRLanderPartial failure
Luna E-8-5M No.41216-Oct-75 Lavochkin☭ USSRLanderLaunch failure
Luna 249-Aug-76 Lavochkin☭ USSRLanderSuccessful
Chang'e 31-Dec-13 CNSA🇨🇳 ChinaLanderOperational
Chang'e 47-Dec-18 CNSA🇨🇳 ChinaLanderOperational
Beresheet22-Feb-19 SpaceIL🇮🇱 IsraelLanderSpacecraft failure
Chandrayaan-222-Jul-19ISRO🇮🇳 IndiaLanderSpacecraft Failure
Chang'e 523-Nov-20 CNSA🇨🇳 ChinaLanderSuccessful
Hakuto-R Mission 111-Dec-22 ispace🇯🇵 JapanLanderSpacecraft failure
Chandrayaan-314-Jul-23ISRO🇮🇳 IndiaLanderSuccessful
Luna 2510-Aug-23 Roscosmos🇷🇺 RussiaLanderSpacecraft failure

After the Apollo missions, the fervor of lunar exploration waned. From 1976 to 2013, no moon landing attempts occurred due to budget constraints, shifting priorities, and advances in robotic missions.

However, a new chapter in space exploration has unfolded in recent years, with emerging players entering the cosmic arena. With its Chang’e missions, China has made significant strides, landing rovers on the moon and exploring the far side of the moon.

India, too, has asserted its presence with the Chandrayaan missions. In 2023, the country became the 4th nation to reach the moon as an unmanned spacecraft landed near the lunar south pole, advancing the country’s space ambitions to learn more about the lunar ice, potentially one of the moon’s most valuable resources.

Exploring Lunar Water

Since the 1960s, even before the historic Apollo landing, scientists had theorized the potential existence of water on the moon.

In 2008, Brown University researchers employed advanced technology to reexamine lunar samples, discovering hydrogen within beads of volcanic glass. And in 2009, a NASA instrument aboard the India’s Chandrayaan-1 probe confirmed the presence of water on the moon’s surface.

Water is deemed crucial for future space exploration. Beyond serving as a potential source of drinking water for future moon explorations, ice deposits could play a pivotal role in cooling equipment. Lunar ice could also be broken down to produce hydrogen for fuel and oxygen for breathing, essential for supporting extended space missions.

With a reinvigorated interest in exploring the moon, manned moon landings are on the horizon once again. In April 2023, NASA conducted tests for the launch of Artemis I, the first American spacecraft to aim for the moon since 1972. The agency aims to send astronauts to the moon around 2025 and build a base camp on the lunar surface.

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This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist's Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.

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Technology

Which Companies Own the Most Satellites?

Despite Starlink’s dominance in the industry, the company is set to face intense competition in the coming years.

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Who-Owns-the-Most-Satellites

Which Companies Own the Most Satellites?

Nearly 7,000 satellites orbit the Earth, serving vital functions such as communication, navigation, and scientific research.

In 2022 alone, more than 150 launches took place, sending new instruments into space, with many more expected over the next decade.

But who owns these objects? In this graphic, we utilize data from the Union of Concerned Scientists to highlight the leaders in satellite technology.

SpaceX’s Dominance in Space

SpaceX, led by Elon Musk, is unquestionably the industry leader, currently operating the largest fleet of satellites in orbit—about 50% of the global total.

The company has already completed 62 missions this year, surpassing any other company or nation, and operates thousands of internet-beaming Starlink spacecraft that provide global internet connectivity.

Starlink customers receive a small satellite dish that self-orients itself to align with Starlink’s low-Earth-orbit satellites.

OwnerTotalShareCountry
SpaceX3,39550%USA
OneWeb Satellites5027%UK
Chinese Government 3695%China
U.S. Government3064%USA
Planet Labs, Inc.1953%USA
Russian Federation1372%Russia
Spire Global Inc.1272%USA
Swarm Technologies841%USA
Iridium Communications, Inc.751%USA
Other1,52823%

Percentages may not add to 100 due to rounding.

In second place is a lesser-known company, British OneWeb Satellites. The company, headquartered in London, counts the UK government among its investors and provides high-speed internet services to governments, businesses, and communities.

Like many other satellite operators, OneWeb relies on SpaceX to launch its satellites.

Despite Starlink’s dominance in the industry, the company is set to face intense competition in the coming years. Amazon’s Project Kuiper plans to deploy 3,236 satellites by 2029 to compete with SpaceX’s network. The first of the fleet could launch as early as 2024.

The Rise of China’s Space Program

After the top private companies, governments also own a significant portion of satellites orbiting the Earth. The U.S. remains the leader in total satellites, when adding those owned by both companies and government agencies together.

American expenditures on space programs reached $62 billion in 2022, five times more than the second one, China.

China, however, has sped up its space program over the last 20 years and currently has the highest number of satellites in orbit belonging directly to government agencies. Most of these are used for Earth observation, communications, defense, and technology development.

Satellite Demand to Rise Over the Decade

Despite the internet being taken for granted in major metropolitan areas and developed countries, one out of every three people worldwide has never used the web.

Furthermore, the increasing demand for data and the emergence of new, more cost-effective satellite technologies are expected to present significant opportunities for private space companies.

In this context, satellite demand is projected to quadruple over the next decade.

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