The Soviet lunar program was set against the backdrop of the space race between the Soviet Union and the United States, where the United States developed the “Apollo” program for the human moon landing.
According to the Soviet government report, the first stage of the Soviet lunar program stipulated launching a manned probe into Earth orbit and returning it to Earth. As for its second phase, it was to send the station “L-3” manned by astronauts to the moon and landing one Soviet astronaut on its surface in 1969 or 1970.
Among the tasks of the lunar mission was to study the features of the lunar surface, photograph the landing area, and collect samples of lunar soil. The E8 probe was supposed to work on the surface of the moon to support the main lunar mission, provided that the mission would last 12 days with the return of the astronauts to Earth.
The third phase of the program stipulated that the Soviet Union establish in the years 1975 – 1985 a network of bases in various regions of the moon that could guarantee the survival of manned lunar missions on the surface of the moon for a period of 20 days, bearing in mind that the Russian lunar program provides for the establishment of one base in the south polar region of the moon.
However, the landing of the American astronauts in July 1969 on the surface of the moon prompted the Soviet government to backtrack on its initial program and move to studying the moon with unmanned lunar stations and the lunokhod lunar rovers, which ultimately delivered lunar soil samples to Earth.