The Soviets Luna Programme to the moon begun in 1959 and run in parallel with other Soviet space missions such as the Vostok programme. Luna was the first of 2 lunar programs conducted by the USSR, the other being the Lunahod program. This was a long-running program, between 1959 & 1976.

The missions were planned for scientific research to collect information on the Moon and its environment These missions included flyby, orbiters, and soft-landing missions.
Luna 1

This was the Soviet unions' first mission in the Luna program, launched on the 2nd of January 1959 it goal was to impact the moon but it also carried scientific instruments to study the magnetic fields of the Earth and the Moon and cosmic radiation. The craft weighed 361 kilos. The mission was only a partial success due to an error in the control systems on the ground. The spacecraft missed the moon by nearly 6000km and resulted in Luna 1 becoming the first spacecraft to go into orbit around the sun.

Luna 2

Launched on the 12th of  September 1959. Luna 2 was another attempt by the Soviets to hit the moon with a lunar impactor. A day later the 390kilo craft successfully impacted the Moon, traveling close to 7500mph at the time of impact it was the first craft to successfully hit the moon.

Luna 3

This craft was launched on the 4th of October 1959, weighing 278.5 kilos. The Luna 3 craft was the first spacecraft to photograph the dark side of the Moon. It had its closest approach on the 6th of October before it preceded to the dark side. All in all, it transmitted some 17 photographs back to Earth until the 22 ndof October 1959 when contact with the probe was lost.