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Russian spacecraft crash-landed on the moon hours before Americans

A 1969 recording of a Russian spacecraft attempting to beat NASA’s Apollo 11 in the race to the moon has been released.

Sir Bernard Lovell, the astronomer, was among the team listening to transmissions coming from the area of space and began tracking the unmanned Soviet spacecraft Luna 15, which was trying to collect samples of lunar soil and rock and then return to Earth before the US mission.

The recordings from Jodrell’s Lovell radio telescope, which were hidden in archives until researchers found them, show the Russian craft orbited the Moon and crash-landed onto its surface at 15:50 on July 21 – just a few hours before the Americans lifted off.

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