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Countries that have Landed on the Moon 2024


  • The USSR (now Russia) first impacted the moon in 1959 and achieved a soft landing in 1966, with the United States following with its own soft landing in 1966 and six manned landings by 1972.

  • China and India have both significantly contributed to lunar exploration; China with Chang'e 3's landing in 2013 and the first soft landing on the moon's dark side in 2019, and India with Chandrayaan-1's impact in 2008 and a soft landing in 2023.

From mobile smartphones to self-driving cars, our world is becoming more advanced. Even outer space is becoming more accessible, with companies such as Blue Origin, SpaceX, and WorldViewEnterprises making space tourism a reality. However, one area that still remains relatively mysterious is the moon, even with all of the technological advances the world has seen throughout the past several decades.

Which Country Landed on the Moon First?

Landing on the moon has been a difficult feat, but it has been accomplished by both manned and unmanned spacecraft. The very first nation to reach the surface of the moon was the USSR (now Russia), whose unmanned spacecraft Luna 2 impacted the moon' surface on 12 September 1959.

While Luna 2 was the first probe to land on the moon, it had been designed to crash-land into the surface (a "hard landing") rather than conduct a soft landing. The first successful soft landing on the moon's surface would happen nearly seven years later, when another Soviet craft, Luna 9, touched down gently on 3 February 1966. In all, the US and Soviet Union launched a total of 12 unmanned spacecraft to perform scientific operations on the surface of the moon from 1966 to 1976.

Since that time, several more countries have become involved in moon exploration, though to a much lesser extent. In addition to the US and Russia, China and India have both successfully soft-landed unmanned probes, landers, or rovers on the moon.

Plus, a total of eight countries (and one intergovernmental organization) have launched missions that impacted the moon: The US, Russia, China, India, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, Luxembourg, and the European Space Agency (ESA). These impacts are sometimes deliberate, such as when India deliberately smashed a "Moon Impact Probe" into the surface and studied the debris that was dislodged. But most impacts are unintentional and caused by miscalculations or mechanical malfunctions.

Which Country Was First to Walk on the Moon?

The first manned mission landed on the moon on July 20, 1969. This mission was known as Apollo 11 and was launched by the United States. Commander Neil Armstrong and pilot Buzz Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon. The event was broadcast on radio and television around the world.

Future Apollo missions would repeat and expand upon this feat (including the use of a jeep-like "Lunar Roving Vehicle") for a total of six successful human lunar landings by 1972. However, as of 2023, no other country has landed humans on the moon.

Countries That Have Landed on the Moon:

Note: Soft landings only. Hard landings are excluded.

RussiaThe first country to successfully land on the moon (1959), soft-land on the moon (1966), and successfully retrieve samples from the moon on an unmanned mission (1970).
United StatesFirst soft-landed a few months after Russia in 1966. As of 2022, has 11 soft landings (most in the world) and is the only country to land humans on the moon (six times/12 people in all, 1969-1972).
ChinaChina's Chang'e 3 lander touched down on 14 Dec. 2013, marking the first moon landing since the USSR's Luna 24 in 1976. Chang'e 4 completed the first soft landing on the dark side of the moon on 3 Jan. 2019.
IndiaDesigned to impact rather than soft-land, India's probe Chandrayaan-1 reached the lunar surface on 22 Oct. 2008, making India the seventh country to successfully impact the moon. On August 23, 2023, the Chandrayaan-3 orbiter successfully deployed its Vikram lander and its cargo, the Pragyan rover, which touched down near the moon's South Pole. India thus became the fourth country to successfully soft-land on the moon.

Moon Landings: Soft Landings vs Hard Landings

Moon landings are categorized as hard landings or soft landings, depending upon the speed at which the craft descends (and whether it needs to function after touchdown). Soft landings occur when the craft touches down at a safe, slow speed, and are necessary on crewed missions or missions in which the craft is expected to take scientific measurements or perform tests after landing. Soft landings are classified true landings.

Hard landings, often referred to as crash landings, typically occur at a higher rate of speed. While easier to complete, hard landings typically result in the destruction of the spacecraft—which is often perfectly acceptable if the craft has already fulfilled its purpose (such as conducting an aerial survey, for example). Hard landings are often classified as impacts rather than true landings.

Countries Planning to Reach the Moon by 2030:

Multiple additional countries either have active space programs or are home to privately funded space programs, and are therefore likely to complete a manned or unmanned soft landing on the moon by the year 2030.

  • Canada — Possible autonomous impactor mission as well as joint mission with EU and Japan.
  • Europe/EU (ESA) — Possible joint lander and sample-return mission alongside Japan and Canada, possible solo rover mission.
  • India — Following the high-speed touchdown of Chandrayaan-1 and the failed soft landing of Chandrayaan-2, India will again attempt a successful soft landing with Chandrayaan-3.
  • Israel — Israel-based SpaceIL's Beresheet moon lander reached the moon in February 2019, but crashed during landing. Follow-up attempts are planned, if not yet funded.
  • Japan — Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) planning crewed landing, privately held company ispace is working with the US and UAE on lander-focused missions.
  • Mexico — Sending microrover as payload on a future US/Mexico joint mission.
  • South Africa — Planned lander and rover mission could launch in 2030.
  • South Korea — Planned lander and rover mission could launch in 2030.
  • Sweden — Contributing to an upcoming joint mission alongside the US and Japan.
  • Turkey — Planned hard- and soft-landing missions by the end of the decade.
  • Ukraine — Working alongside collaborators in UK and US to conduct a mission to explore lunar caves. War with Russia will likely delay mission.
  • United Arab Emirates — Companies based in UAE, Japan, and the US are working together on an upcoming mission in which a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will carry a Japanese-designed lander and the UAE's lunar rover.
  • United Kingdom — Working alongside Ukrainian and USA-based companies to conduct a mission to explore lunar caves, also planning solo sample retrieval mission.
  • United States — The National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) is planning several additional moon missions, many in partnership with other countries such as Japan and Mexico. Additionally, multiple private US firms are planning moon missions, including (but not limited to): Intuitive Machines, Carnegie Mellon University, MIT, Astrobiotic Technology, and SpaceX.
  • Accomplishments originally made by the Soviet Union/USSR are attributed to the country's current incarnation, Russia.
  • List includes only successful soft landings. Failed missions such as Luna 23, which tipped over on landing and could not complete its mission, do not appear. Nor do missions in which the craft was deliberately designed to hard land (Ranger 7, Chandrayaan-1) or allowed to crash after completing its mission (Lunar Prospector, Hiten).

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First Unmanned Landing
First Manned Landing
United States1966-06-021969-07-20

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Landing Date
Russia/USSRLuna 091966-02-03No
First craft to successfully soft-land on the moon.
United StatesSurveyor 11966-06-02No
Russia/USSRLuna 131966-12-24No
United StatesSurveyor 31967-04-20No
United StatesSurveyor 51967-09-11No
United StatesSurveyor 61967-11-10No
First craft to lift off lunar surface after landing.
United StatesSurveyor 71968-01-10No
United StatesApollo 111969-07-20Yes
First mission in which humans walked on the moon.
United StatesApollo 121969-11-19Yes
Russia/USSRLuna 161970-09-20No
First unmanned mission to successfully return samples to Earth
Russia/USSRLuna 171970-11-17No
United StatesApollo 141971-02-05Yes
United StatesApollo 151971-07-30Yes
First mission to deploy the Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle.
Russia/USSRLuna 201972-02-27No
United StatesApollo 161972-04-20Yes
United StatesApollo 171972-12-11Yes
Russia/USSRLuna 211973-01-15No
Russia/USSRLuna 241976-08-18No
ChinaChang'e 32013-12-14No
ChinaChang'e 42019-01-03No
First successful landing on the dark side of the moon.
ChinaChang'e 52020-12-01No
First successful soft landing near the lunar South Pole.

Countries that have Landed on the Moon 2024

How many countries have been to the moon?

One country, the United States, has landed astronauts on the moon. Four countries have soft-landed unmanned missions on the moon: the United States, Russia, China, and India. Eight countries and one intergovernmental organization have conducted missions that impacted the moon, either intentionally or unintentionally: the United States, Russia/USSR, China, India, Japan, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Luxembourg, and the European Space Agency (ESA)

Which countries have landed on the moon?

The United States is the only country that has successfully landed humans on the moon, which it did six times from 1967 to 1972. However, the US and three other countries—the USSR/Russia, China, and India—have landed unmanned probes on the moon. Moreover, four additional countries (and one intergovernmental organization) have launched missions in which their spacecraft impacted the moon: Japan, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, Luxembourg, and the European Space Agency (ESA). While some impacts have been deliberate, others have resulted from failed attempts to land on or orbit the moon.

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