Man on the moon 50 years later: Luna 15

The space race was still going on between the U.S. and the Soviet Union even as Apollo 11 astronauts were on the lunar surface.
3:43 | 07/17/19

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Transcript for Man on the moon 50 years later: Luna 15
The number. And polar Lander and pork. RRR. I'm David Curley as we mark the fiftieth anniversary of the landing on the moon we have left this story of the space race competition. Between the US and the Soviets going on. Even as Apollo eleven astronauts were on the lunar surface. The story told by the first man on the moon Neil Armstrong who like other Americans had watched the Soviets early successes. The first humans to orbit preceded by the first satellite in space. Would it shock the American. We believe we are the most technologically advanced community in the world and I. While president Kennedy challenged the US to put a man on the moon in less than a decade the Soviets did not give up. They attempted to beat the Americans and bring back soil from the moon. In an unmanned probe Luna fifteen. This footage from the Soviet film the Mun highway of the follow on version Luna sixteen. Just three days before they lifted off Armstrong and his crew in final preparations for their mission. The Soviets launch. Soviets launched Luna fifteen. It had no human crew. But secret mission was to land on the lunar surface collect some soil samples rocket government earth. And claim a state Soviet victory. First chunks of them return could hear arguments. Three days later. Apollo eleven departed Kennedy space sooner the crew did not know about noon a fifteen. Or at school. Mission control. Informed the crew of the existence of this overt Soviet prayer while they were en route to them. So when Apollo eleven arrives in lunar orbit Luna fifteen the Soviet craft is already there or ridding as well. Which country will get to the surface first and return lunar soil to earth but the Soviets are having trouble. Tools for sure indication of the Russians have had trouble as it has been no word whatsoever from Moscow. On Luna who have been last three or four ars. Armstrong and Aldrin land they start their moonwalk and sample collection. Just two hours before the Americans are to lift off from the surface the Soviets tried to land Luna fifteen but four minutes into that effort. Luna fifteen stops communicating. Uno fifteen. Apparently plunged to the surface of the moon outside tries speed it like oh they severely damaged itself. It crash most likely on to a moon mountain more than 500 miles from the US slander. Failure for the Soviets as Apollo eleven returns to orbit and then brings those first samples back from the moon to earth. The space race fade. It was the ultimate. Peaceful. Competition. Well not assert that. It was a diversion which prevented a war analysts it was a diversion. This intensity. Did go out to both sides to take the high road. With the objectives of science and learning and exploration. Eventually. Provided a mechanism. Were injured and green who operation. Between former adversaries. In that sense among others it was an exceptional national investment for boats arts. I'm David Curley.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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