How US was nearly pipped to first moon rock samples
How many missions were going to the Moon in mid-July, 1969? Apollo 11, of course. But there was another mission, a Russian one, which the Soviet Union hoped would capture the banner of lunar glory; especially if the Apollo mission failed. The story of Luna 15 is not a secret — but it is not well known, either. And in that story there was a role to play for Britain’s own astronomical crown jewel: the great radio telescope, now known as the Lovell Telescope, at Jodrell Bank.