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Luna 25 crashes into Moon, Russia fails at only moon mission in 47 years | Space

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Russia’s 47-year anticipation for lunar exploration ended as Luna-25 lander crashed into the Moon due to an off-design orbit shift.

Luna-25

Graphical representation of Russia’s Luna-25 mission. | Image: Roscosmos

Luna-25, the Russian spacecraft, crashed into the Moon after  unexpectedly shifting into an off-design orbit, leading to the end of its mission and 47 years of anticipation. The Russian Federal Space Agency, Roscosmos, confirmed the news via a official release on August 20. 

An official press release from the Russian Federal Space Agency Roscosmos.| Image: X  

Previously, the space agency reported that Russia’s Luna-25 lunar lander had encountered a critical setback in its mission. On August 19, the spacecraft underwent a scheduled impulse for orbit adjustment as part of its pre-landing manoeuvres. However, the agency stated in their statement, “At about 14:57 Moscow time, communication with Luna-25 was interrupted.”

“The measures taken on August 19 and 20 to search for the device and get into contact with it did not produce any results,” the agency added.

Efforts to re-establish contact with Luna-25 throughout August 19 and 20 proved futile. According to the results of the preliminary analysis, as per Roscosmos, “due to the deviation of the actual parameters of the impulse from the calculated ones, the device switched to an off-design orbit and ceased to exist as a result of a collision with the lunar surface.”

In response to this incident, as stated in the release by Roscosmos, an interdepartmental commission has been convened to thoroughly investigate the circumstances that led to the loss of the lunar lander. The statement read, “A specially formed interdepartmental commission will deal with the issues of clarifying the reasons for the loss of the Moon mission.”

The mission cost Russia around 200 million USD and marked Russia’s first lunar mission in 47 years. Luna-25 was launched on August 10 with the aim of executing a soft landing on the lunar south pole. Earlier, Russian officials reported that the lander had encountered an ‘abnormal situation’, though the specifics were not clarified.

With Luna-25 no longer in contention, Chandrayaan 3, India’s lunar mission, remains the sole active mission capable of achieving a historic soft landing on the Moon’s South Pole. According to reports, India’s attempt will take place on August 23.

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