The Soviet Union launches the first interplanetary exploration spacecraft. Venera-1's mission was to send back information as it flies past Venus. A week after launch, communications with the craft were lost; Venera-1 passed near Venus in May and entered into orbit around the sun.
* NASA summary: @
* "The Soviet Exploration of Venus" (from mentallandscape.com): @
* Summary of Venera program (from Case Western Reserve University): @
* Graphic: @