Luna-1, also known as The 1st Space Rocket and Dream (Мечта) was launched Jan 2, 1959 towards the Moon. Occasionally it gained speed and missed the Moon by 6000  kilimeters to become the first artificial satellite of Sun.  Although the mission was a partial success it had a very important scientific meaning.

Luna-1
Luna-1

FDC

Luna-1
Luna-1

Moscow

Luna 1
Luna 1

1st anniversary Minsk club cancellation

Luna 1
Luna 1

2nd anniversary Minsk club cancellation

Luna 1
Luna 1

2nd anniversary Vilnius club cancellation

Luna 1
Luna 1

2nd anniversary Krasnoyarsk club cancellation

Luna 1
Luna 1

3rd anniversary Baku

Luna 1
Luna 1

3rd anniversary Minsk

Luna 1
Luna 1

3rd anniversary Taganrog

Luna 1
Luna 1

5th anniversary Vinnitsa

Luna 1
Luna 1

5th anniversary Tartu

Luna 1
Luna 1

30th anniversary

Luna 1
Luna 1

50th anniversary Baikonur

Luna-1 Kiev postcard.jpg

Luna-2 was the first probe to reach the surface of the Moon on Sep 14, 1959

Luna 2
Luna 2

Moscow official cancellation

Luna 2
Luna 2

Chelyabinsk

Luna-2
Luna-2

1st anniversary Leningrad official cancellation

Luna 2
Luna 2

1st anniversary Kiev official cancellation on the club cover

Luna 2
Luna 2

Kiev

Luna-2
Luna-2

3rd anniversary Liepaja club cover

Luna 2
Luna 2

3rd anniversary Bayan-Aul club cover

Luna 2
Luna 2

3rd anniversary Minsk

Luna 2
Luna 2

3rd anniversary Siauliai

Luna 2
Luna 2

3rd anniversary Kaliningrad

Luna-2
Luna-2

55th anniversary BaikonurSvyazInform special cancellation on official card. Note the special vignette.

Luna 2, 1y postcard.jpg

Luna-3, also known as The 3rd Space Rocket, launched towards the Moon on Oct 4, 1959. It was a much more sophisticated space probe designed to approach the Moon, run a photo session and transmit the images while performing a complex gravity maneuver. The film should be developed abroad the ship and the data would be sent in facsimile format. Luna-3 took 29 photographs of the dark side of the Moon on Oct 7th and headed back to Earth. The first transmission was on Oct 18th but the quality of images was very poor due to high noise level. Although the second transmission was scheduled from a closer distance – it was never received and the probe ceased to respond.

Luna-3
Luna-3

Kiev club cancellation - Oct 18, 1959. The date when the probe approached Earth after picturing the Moon's dark side

Luna-3
Luna-3

Kiev club cancellation - Oct 18, 1959 on official cover

Luna-3
Luna-3

1st anniversary official cancellation on Moscow City Collector Society club cover

Luna-3
Luna-3

Leningrad official cancellation and cover

Luna-3
Luna-3

1st anniversary official cancellation on Moscow City Collector Society club cover

Luna-3
Luna-3

1st anniversary official cancellation on Kiev club cover

Luna-3
Luna-3

3rd anniversary Barnaul

Luna-3
Luna-3

5th anniversary Tartu

Luna-3
Luna-3

3rd anniversary Kiev Youth Club cover

Luna-3
Luna-3

Liepaja

Luna 2, 3y postcard.jpg

Luna-4 was a new generation of the space probe designed to perform soft landing on the Moon – Е-6. After first launches towards the Moon, in 1959 Korolev initiated two development projects – E-6 for the soft landing and E-7 to setup first artificial multifunctional satellite of the Moon. Four E-6 probes were built by the end of 1962. The first (Е-6 №1) was a testbed but all others were production examples ready to be launched using four-stage rocket launch vehicle “Molnia” (8K78).

The first attempt was done on Jan 4, 1963 with Е-6 №2 but the accelerator stage failure left the probe on the Earth orbit for a day before it came to its end in the atmosphere. The second launch of Е-6 №3 failed to reach the orbit due to the gyro glitch and splashed down in the Central Pacific. Both launches were not mentioned in Soviet press.

Е-6 №4 was successfully launched on April 2, 1963, brought to the Earth orbit, accelerated and started its journey towards the Moon. At this point it got the designation “Luna-4” and Soviet state press agency TASS released the information about successful launch towards the future Moon landing. The frustration came 4 days later, when due to the navigation system failure the probe missed its target by 8500 kilometers and returned towards Earth. Surprisingly TASS reported that “the mission was accomplished as planned and Luna-4 has transmitted a lot of important scientific information. Currently Luna-4 is on the way to become an Earth satellite while keeping communications for some time.”

Luna-4
Luna-4

Vinnitsa

Luna-4
Luna-4

Riga

Luna-4
Luna-4

Perm

Luna-4
Luna-4

Penza

Luna-4
Luna-4

Minsk

Luna-4
Luna-4

Magnitogorsk

Luna-4
Luna-4

Magadan

Luna 4
Luna 4

Magadan

Luna-4
Luna-4

Baku

Luna-4
Luna-4

Simferopol

Luna-4
Luna-4

Kaliningrad

Luna-4
Luna-4

Kaluga

Luna-4
Luna-4

Baikonur forged cancellation

Luna-6
Luna-6

Tartu

Zond-3
Zond-3

Moon dark side imaging Perm club cover

Luna-7
Luna-7

Tartu

Luna-8
Luna-8

Tartu

Venera 1
Venera 1

Minsk

Venera 1
Venera 1

Minsk

Venera 1
Venera 1

Taganrog

Venera 1
Venera 1

1st anniversary Taganrog

Venera 1
Venera 1

1st anniversary Kuibyshev

Venera 1
Venera 1

1st anniversary, Baku

Venera 1
Venera 1

2nd anniversary Khabarovsk

Venera 1
Venera 1

2nd anniversary Penza

Venera 1
Venera 1

2nd anniversary Arkhangelsk

Venera 1
Venera 1

3rd anniversary Barnaul

Zond 1
Zond 1

Ivano-Frankovsk

Zond 1
Zond 1

Arkhangelsk

Zond 1
Zond 1

Arkhangelsk

Zond 1
Zond 1

Baikonur

Mars-1 was the first probe to be brought on flying trajectory towards Mars and performed a partially successful approach. Mars-1 was launched on Nov 1, 1962 in the heat of Cuban missile crisis. Actually it was planned to leave Earth several days earlier, put the start pad was occupied by R-7 ballistic missile with 3 megaton warhead put on short alert in case the crisis develops into the nukes exchange. After a couple of unsuccessful launches Mars-1 was finally brought to the path towards Mars and started its journey. Unfortunately the one of the micro-engines developed a gas leak that led to the loss of the inertial orientation system. After the gas was lost all the orientation was done from Earth using commands from deep space communications facilities. March 21, 1963 was the last successful communication session at a distance of 106 million kilometers from Earth. Mars-1 probably had it’s closest approach to the Red Planet on June 19, 1963 at around 193,000 kilometers.

Mars-1
Mars-1

launch Magadan

Mars 1
Mars 1

Magadan

Mars 1
Mars 1

launch Vinnitsa

Mars 1
Mars 1

launch Vilnius

Mars 1
Mars 1

launch Baku

Mars-1
Mars-1

launch Minsk

Mars-1
Mars-1

launch Minsk

Mars-1
Mars-1

launch Magnitogorsk - red

Mars-1
Mars-1

launch Magnitogorsk - black

Mars-1
Mars-1

launch Poltava

Mars-1
Mars-1

launch Kaluga

Mars-1
Mars-1

launch Lvov

Mars-1
Mars-1

Stanislav

Mars-1
Mars-1

launch Kaliningrad

Mars-1
Mars-1

10,000,000 kilometers Baku

Mars-1
Mars-1

1 month in flight Arkhangelsk

Mars-1
Mars-1

1 month in flight Taganrog - red

Mars-1
Mars-1

1 month in flight Taganrog - black

Mars-1
Mars-1

1 month in flight Riga

Mars-1
Mars-1

15,000,000 kilometers Perm

Mars 1
Mars 1

17,000,000 kilometers Lvov

Mars 1
Mars 1

17,000,000 kilometers Lvov

Mars 1
Mars 1

2 months in flight Liepaja

Mars-1
Mars-1

25,000,000 kilometers Baku

Mars-1
Mars-1

2 months in flight Karaganda - black

Mars-1
Mars-1

2 months in flight Karaganda - red

Mars 1
Mars 1

2 months in flight Karaganda - purple

Mars 1
Mars 1

3 months in flight Penza

Mars 1
Mars 1

3 months in flight Kuibyshev

Mars 1
Mars 1

3 months in flight Kaliningrad

Mars-1
Mars-1

100,000,000 km Perm

Mars 1
Mars 1

100 days in flight Kalinin

Mars 1
Mars 1

4 months in flight Liepaja

Mars 1
Mars 1

100,000,000 km Arkhangelsk

Mars 1
Mars 1

100,000,000 km Arkhangelsk

Mars-1
Mars-1

Apr 12, 1963 - in flight Perm - purple

Mars-1
Mars-1

Apr 12, 1963 - in flight Perm - red

Mars 1
Mars 1

6 months in flight Kiev Young Pioneers Club

Mars-1
Mars-1

bypassing Mars - Jun 20, 1963 Perm

Mars 1
Mars 1

finish Perm

Mars-1
Mars-1

1st anniversary of the launch Tartu - blue

Mars-1
Mars-1

1st anniversary of the launch Tartu - red

Mars-1
Mars-1

1st anniversary of the launch Penza

Mars-1
Mars-1

1st anniversary of the launch Murmansk club cancellation on a serviced cover

Zond-2
Zond-2

inflight system testing while launched towards Mars forged Baikonur cancellation