"PETAL" FOR LUNA 9 SOVIET SOFT-LANDER.
Large alloy "petal," designed for the Luna 9 lander manufactured by GSMZ Lavochkin. Steel, 20 x 20 inches, on later 8 x 10 inch display stand.
In 1959, the Russians successful impacted their Luna 2 spacecraft on the lunar surface, becoming the first country to put an object on another planetary body. In February, 1966, they went a step further and achieved the first soft landing on the moon, with Luna 9. Cushioned by a landing bag, it touched down and four petals covering the top half of the spacecraft opened outward, stabilizing the spacecraft on the lunar surface. Antennas sprung out, and a rotating mirror and camera assembly sent back panoramic views of the lunar surfacethe first time humans had seen close-up views of the surface of our satellite. The present surplus petal is identical to those on Luna 9, which now rests on the Oceanus Procellarum.