One of the most iconic and impressive astronomical explorations to date have been to the Moon. But what countries and space agencies have managed to get there? Intrigued, I spent some time researching and here is what I found.
So how many countries have been to the Moon? Five countries have been to the moon, although only three counties have landed. Only one country, the United States, has walked on the moon. In total, there have been a total of 67 successfully completed moon missions to date and over a dozen scheduled in the future.
Being Earths natural satellite, missions to the moon have been a focus of space exploration ever since the 1980s.
In fact, the entire Space Race and an entire political war was focused entirely upon it.
But the truth is, only a handful of countries have completed missions there.
Even fewer have landed.
And only one has walked.
Let us now take a closer look at all of these countries!
Which Countries Have Been To The Moon?
The five countries that have been to the Moon to date are the United States, China, Japan, Luxembourg, and India. Although, a further 2 political unions, the Soviet Union and the European Union have visited too.
It does not sound like a lot does it?
Well. Visiting the moon is a considerable feat.
It takes an incredible amount of investment, research, knowledge, resources and technology to do so.
This is also why not all missions to the moon have been successful.
But what does the success rate look like across these countries and political unions?
Here they are, in order of achievement:
- USA – 32 completed missions to date
- China – 7
- Japan – 2
- Luxembourg – 1
- India – 1
From here, the two political unions have achieved:
- Soviet Union – 23 completed missions to date
- European Union – 1 completed mission to date
Of course, visiting the Moon is not the only space exploration either.
Nevertheless, below you can see the full list of successful and unsuccessful missions
Successful Moon Missions
There are a total of 67 completed missions to date. 2 are still ongoing.
|Spacecraft||Launch Date||Nation||Mission Type|
|Mechta||02 January 1959||Soviet Union||Impactor|
|Luna 2||12 September 1959||Soviet Union||Impactor|
|Luna 3||04 October 1959||Soviet Union||Flyby|
|Ranger 7||28 July 1964||United States||Impactor|
|Ranger 8||17 February 1965||United States||Impactor|
|Ranger 9||21 March 1965||United States||Impactor|
|Zond 3||18 July 1965||Soviet Union||Flyby|
|Luna 9||31 January 1966||Soviet Union||Lander|
|Luna 10||31 March 1966||Soviet Union||Orbiter|
|Surveyor 1||30 May 1966||United States||Lander|
|Luna 12||22 October 1966||Soviet Union||Orbiter|
|Lunar Orbiter 2||06 November 1966||United States||Orbiter|
|Luna 13||21 December 1966||Soviet Union||Lander|
|Lunar Orbiter 3||05 February 1967||United States||Orbiter|
|Surveyor 3||17 April 1967||United States||Lander|
|Lunar Orbiter 4||04 May 1967||United States||Orbiter|
|Explorer 35||19 July 1967||United States||Orbiter|
|Lunar Orbiter 5||01 August 1967||United States||Orbiter|
|Surveyor 5||08 September 1967||United States||Lander|
|Surveyor 6||07 November 1967||United States||Lander|
|Surveyor 7||07 January 1968||United States||Lander|
|Luna 14||07 April 1968||Soviet Union||Orbiter|
|Zond 5||14 September 1968||Soviet Union||Flyby, circled|
|Apollo 8||21 December 1968||United States||Crewed orbiter|
|Apollo 10||18 May 1969||United States||Crewed orbiter|
|Apollo 11||16 July 1969||United States||Crewed orbiter/lander|
|Zond 7||07 August 1969||Soviet Union||Flyby|
|Apollo 12||14 November 1969||United States||Crewed orbiter/lander|
|Luna 16||12 September 1970||Soviet Union||Sample return|
|Zond 8||20 October 1970||Soviet Union||Flyby|
|Luna 17||10 November 1970||Soviet Union||Lander/rover|
|Apollo 14||31 January 1971||United States||Crewed orbiter/lander|
|Apollo 15||26 July 1971||United States||Crewed orbiter/lander/rover|
|PFS-1||26 July 1971||United States||Orbiter|
|Luna 19||28 September 1971||Soviet Union||Orbiter|
|Luna 20||14 February 1972||Soviet Union||Sample return|
|Apollo 16||16 April 1972||United States||Crewed orbiter/lander/rover|
|PFS-2||16 April 1972||United States||Orbiter|
|Apollo 17||07 December 1972||United States||Crewed orbiter/lander/rover|
|Luna 21||08 January 1973||Soviet Union||Lander/rover|
|Explorer 49||10 June 1973||United States||Orbiter|
|Mariner 10||03 November 1973||United States||Flyby|
|Luna 22||29 May 1974||Soviet Union||Orbiter|
|Luna 24||09 August 1976||Soviet Union||Sample return|
|ISEE-3||12 August 1978||United States||Gravity assist|
|Hiten||24 January 1990||Japan||Flyby/Orbiter|
|Geotail||24 July 1992||Japan/United States||Gravity assist|
|WIND||01 November 1994||United States||Gravity assist|
|Clementine||25 January 1994||United States||Orbiter|
|Lunar Prospector||07 January 1998||United States||Orbiter|
|WMAP||30 June 2001||United States||Gravity assist|
|SMART-1||27 September 2003||United States||Orbiter|
|STEREO||25 October 2006||United States||Gravity assist|
|SELENE||14 September 2007||United States||Orbiter|
|Chang’e 1||24 October 2007||Soviet Union||Orbiter|
|Chandrayaan-1||22 October 2008||India||Orbiter|
|LCROSS||18 June 2009||United States||Impactor|
|Chang’e 2||01 October 2010||Soviet Union||Orbiter|
|Ebb||10 September 2011||United States||Orbiter|
|Flow||10 September 2011||United States||Orbiter|
|LADEE||07 September 2013||United States||Orbiter|
|Manfred Memorial Moon Mission||23 October 2014||European Union||Flyby|
|TESS||18 April 2018||United States||Gravity assist|
|Chang’e 5||23 November 2020||Soviet Union||Lander/sample return|
There are a further two ongoing operational missions:
|Spacecraft||Launch Date||Nation||Mission Type|
|ARTEMIS||17 February 2007||NASA||Orbiter|
|Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter||18 June 2009||NASA||Orbiter|
Unsuccessful Moon Missions
There are a total of 54 unsuccessful missions to date.
|Spacecraft||Launch Date||Nation||Mission Type|
|Pioneer 0||17 August 1958||United States||Orbiter|
|Luna E-1 No.1||23 September 1958||Soviet Union||Impactor|
|Pioneer 1||11 October 1958||United States||Orbiter|
|Luna E-1 No.2||11 October 1958||Soviet Union||Impactor|
|Pioneer 2||08 November 1958||United States||Orbiter|
|Luna E-1 No.3||04 December 1958||Soviet Union||Impactor|
|Pioneer 3||06 December 1958||United States||Flyby|
|Pioneer 4||03 March 1959||United States||Flyby|
|E-1A No.1||18 June 1959||Soviet Union||Impactor|
|Pioneer P-3||26 November 1959||United States||Orbiter|
|Luna E-3 No.1||15 April 1960||Soviet Union||Flyby|
|Luna E-3 No.2||16 April 1960||Soviet Union||Flyby|
|Pioneer P-30||25 September 1960||United States||Orbiter|
|Pioneer P-31||15 December 1960||United States||Orbiter|
|Ranger 3||26 January 1962||United States||Impactor|
|Ranger 4||23 April 1962||United States||Impactor|
|Ranger 5||18 October 1962||United States||Impactor|
|Luna E-6 No.2||04 January 1963||Soviet Union||Lander|
|Luna E-6 No.3||03 February 1963||Soviet Union||Lander|
|Luna 4||02 April 1963||Soviet Union||Lander|
|Ranger 6||30 January 1964||United States||Impactor|
|Luna E-6 No.6||21 March 1964||Soviet Union||Lander|
|Luna E-6 No.5||20 April 1964||Soviet Union||Lander|
|Kosmos 60||12 March 1965||Soviet Union||Lander|
|Luna E-6 No.8||10 April 1965||Soviet Union||Lander|
|Luna 5||09 May 1965||Soviet Union||Lander|
|Luna 6||08 June 1965||Soviet Union||Lander|
|Luna 7||04 October 1965||Soviet Union||Lander|
|Luna 8||03 December 1965||Soviet Union||Lander|
|Kosmos 111||01 March 1966||Soviet Union||Orbiter|
|Explorer 33||01 July 1966||United States||Orbiter|
|Lunar Orbiter 1||10 August 1966||United States||Orbiter|
|Surveyor 2||20 September 1966||United States||Lander|
|Surveyor 4||14 July 1967||United States||Lander|
|Soyuz 7K-L1 No.4L||27 September 1967||Soviet Union||Flyby|
|Soyuz 7K-L1 No.5L||22 November 1967||Soviet Union||Flyby|
|Luna E-6LS No.112||07 February 1968||Soviet Union||Orbiter|
|Soyuz 7K-L1 No.7L||22 April 1968||Soviet Union||Flyby|
|Zond 6||10 November 1968||Soviet Union||Flyby|
|Soyuz 7K-L1 No.13L||20 January 1969||Soviet Union||Flyby|
|Luna E-8 No.201||19 February 1969||Soviet Union||Lander/rover|
|Soyuz 7K-L1S No.3||21 February 1969||Soviet Union||Orbiter|
|Luna E-8-5 No.402||14 June 1969||Soviet Union||Sample return|
|Soyuz 7K-L1S No.5||03 July 1969||Soviet Union||Orbiter|
|Luna 15||13 July 1969||Soviet Union||Sample return|
|Kosmos 300||23 September 1969||Soviet Union||Sample return|
|Kosmos 305||22 October 1969||Soviet Union||Sample return|
|Luna E-8-5 No.405||06 February 1970||Soviet Union||Sample return|
|Apollo 13||11 April 1970||United States||Crewed orbiter/lander|
|Luna 18||02 September 1971||Soviet Union||Sample return|
|Soyuz 7K-LOK No.1||03 July 1972||Soviet Union||Orbiter|
|Luna E-8-5M No.412||16 October 1975||Soviet Union||Sample return|
|Hagoromo||24 January 1990||Japan||Orbiter|
|Nozomi||03 July 1998||Japan||Gravity assist|
Future Missions (Funded And Under Development)
There are currently 37 moon missions planned and funded – 33 of which are robotic and a further 4 are crewed.
|Country||Name||Launch due||Launch Vehicle|
|USA||Mission One||Q4 2021||Vulcan Centaur|
|United Kingdom||Spacebit Mission One||2021||Vulcan Centaur|
|Russia||Luna 25||Oct-21||Soyuz-2.1b / Fregat-M|
|USA||Artemis 1||Nov-21||SLS Block 1|
|India||Chandrayaan-3||2022||GSLV Mk III|
|South Korea||Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (KPLO)||Aug-22||Falcon 9|
|USA||Nova-C 2||2022||Falcon 9|
|USA||Artemis-7 lander||2022||Falcon 9|
|USA||Blue Ghost||Mid 2023||TBA|
|Australia||Australia Lunar Exploration Mission||2023||TBD|
|USA||Hakuto-R rover||2023||Falcon 9|
|Japan||DESTINY+||2023 or 2024||Epsilon|
|China||Chang’e 6||2023 or 2024||Long March 5|
|China||Chang’e 7||2024||Long March 5|
|Canada||Light weight camera and planetary navigation system||2024||TBD|
|Country||Name||Launch Due||Launch Vehicle|
|USA/ Canada||Artemis 2||Aug-23||SLS Block 1|
|USA||Artemis 3||2024||SLS Block 1|
Mission space data sources: Wikipedia
Which Country Reached The Moon First?
The Soviet Union was the first political union to reach the moon on the 02nd January 1959. It was not until 28 July 1964 that the United States reached the moon.
What Countries Have Walked On The Moon?
The only country that has walked on the Moon is the United States. This first happened through the Apollo 11 mission of July 20, 1969; where two astronauts (Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin) successfully landed and walked across the lunar surface.
Apollo 11 was part of a wider Apollo program that ran between 1961-1972. A total of 12 astronauts walked on the moon during this time and across the various missions.
NASA, the American space agency, is currently planning the Artemis Program; which intends again to land humans on the moon.
How Many Countries Have Flags On The Moon?
The United States is the only country to have deployed flags on the moon; doing so back in the Apollo program between 1969-1972.
These flags cannot be seen with a telescope however.
Outside of flags, four other countries (China, Japan, India, and the former Soviet Union) along with the European Space Agency have sent probes and other unmanned spacecraft to the lunar surface of the moon.