Lunar Mission Crashes

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A Russian lunar mission crashed into the moon. This is a serious failure for the Russian space program.

The launch’s schedule conflicted with an Indian lunar mission, though this was not the cause for the crash. Fox News reports:

Russia’s Lunar lander failed on approach and crashed into the surface of the moon on Sunday, marking an end to Russia’s first lunar mission in 47 years.

Russia’s spaceflight group, Roskosmos, announced the failure in a statement, saying the craft ran into a problem as it attempt to enter a pre-landing orbit. The Luna-25 spacecraft had been scheduled to land on Monday, but Roskosmos says it careened out of control and crashed into the moon around 12:00 GMT on Saturday.

Russia’s space program, which it inherited from the Soviets, is among the most developed in the world. The Soviet Space program was the world leader until NASA beat it to the moon with its manned programs. Space.com has more:

A preliminary analysis suggests that the wayward orbital maneuver sent Luna-25 into an unexpected trajectory, one in which the moon lander “ceased to exist as a result of a collision with the lunar surface,” Roscosmos wrote.

Luna-25 was hoped to be a major space milestone for Russia. The last moon probe from the country was Luna-24 in 1976, when Russia was still part of the Soviet Union. That probe landed in the moon’s Sea of Crises (Mare Crisium) and ferried a sample back to Earth, a few years after the last human moon landing by NASA in 1972. Luna-25 was targeted to touch down near the south pole of the moon, where the probe was to spend one Earth year searching for water ice and performing a number of scientific investigations.

Russia’s war in Ukraine has disrupted global space programs, who relied on Russia’s Soyuz missions to conduct many space resupply missions. This failure will be difficult to overcome while the state budget is fully behind conducting the war.

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