Several nations have sent numerous spacecraft to the surface of the Moon. The Soviet Union performed the first moon landing in 1959 by crashing the Luna 2 spacecraft at high speed onto the lunar surface, a feat duplicated in 1962 by the Americans with Ranger 4. During the time of the Cold War, such contests to be the first on the Moon with a particular capability was one of the most visible facets of the Space Race. More recently other nations have crashed spacecraft on the surface of the Moon at speeds of around 5,000 miles per hour (8,000 km/h), often at precise, planned locations. These have generally been end-of-life lunar orbiters that because of system degradations could no longer overcome perturbations from lunar mascons to maintain their orbit. Japan's lunar orbiter Hiten crash impacted the Moon's surface on 10 April 1993. The European Space Agency performed a controlled crash impact with their orbiter SMART-1 on 3 September 2006. India's Space Agency ISRO performed a controlled crash impact with its Moon Impact Probe (MIP) on 14 November 2008. The MIP was notable for being an ejected probe from the Indian Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter and for performing remote sensing experiments during its descent to the lunar surface. Radio contact with the Chadrayaan-1 has been lost and it will also crash on the lunar surface in late 2011 or early 2012. Most recently, the Chinese lunar orbiter Chang'e 1 executed a controlled crash onto the surface of the Moon on 1 March 2009. Only eighteen spacecraft have
used braking rockets to survive their moon landings and perform scientific operations on the lunar surface Ц six manned, a dozen unmanned, all launched by either the Soviets or the Americans between 1966 and 1976. The USSR accomplished the first soft landings and took the first pictures from the lunar surface with ruggedized camera packages on their Luna 9 and Luna 13 missions. The Americans followed with five unmanned Surveyor soft landings and six manned Apollo missions. After the American manned Apollo landings, the Soviet Union later achieved sample returns of lunar soil via the unmanned Luna 16, Luna 20 and Luna 24 Moon landings; their Luna 17 and Luna 21 were successful unmanned rover missions. Not included in this accounting is the Soviet Luna 23 mission, which successfully landed but whose scientific equipment then failed, or the American Surveyor 4, with whom all radio contact was lost only moments before an automated soft landing. Manned landings A total of twelve men have landed on the Moon. This was accomplished with two US pilot-astronauts flying a Lunar Module on each of six NASA missions across a 41-month time span starting on 20 July 1969 UTC, with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on Apollo 11, and ending on 14 December 1972 UTC with Gene Cernan and Jack Schmitt on Apollo 17. Cernan was the last to step off the lunar surface. All Apollo lunar missions had a third crew member who remained on board the Command Module. The last three missions had a rover for increased mobility.