Russia's Luna-25 spacecraft suffers technical glitch in pre-landing maneuver

A Soyuz-2.1b rocket booster with a Fregat higher stage and the lunar touchdown spacecraft Luna-25 blasts off from a launchpad on the Vostochny Cosmodrome within the far japanese Amur area, Russia, Aug. 11, 2023.

Roscosmos | Through Reuters

Russia reported an “irregular scenario” Saturday on its moon-bound Luna-25 spacecraft, which launched earlier this month.

The nation’s house company, Roscosmos, stated the spacecraft bumped into unspecified bother whereas making an attempt to enter a pre-landing orbit, and that its specialists have been analyzing the scenario.

“In the course of the operation, an irregular scenario occurred on board the automated station, which didn’t permit the maneuver to be carried out with the required parameters,” Roscosmos stated in a Telegram publish.

Roscosmos didn’t specify whether or not the incident will stop Luna-25 from making a touchdown.

The spacecraft is scheduled to land on the south pole of the moon on Monday, racing to land on Earth’s satellite tv for pc forward of an Indian spacecraft. The lunar south pole is of explicit curiosity to scientists, who imagine the completely shadowed polar craters might comprise water. The frozen water within the rocks could possibly be reworked by future explorers into air and rocket gasoline.

Additionally on Saturday, the Russian spacecraft produced its first outcomes. Although Roscosmos stated the data was present process evaluation, the company reported that the preliminary knowledge obtained contained details about the chemical components of the lunar soil and that its gear had registered a “micrometeorite impression.”

Roscosmos posted pictures of the Zeeman crater – the third largest within the moon’s southern hemisphere – taken from the spacecraft. The crater has a diameter of 190 kilometers (118 miles) and is eight kilometers (5 miles) deep.

The launch from Russia’s Vostochny spaceport within the Far East of the Luna-25 craft on Aug. 10 was Russia’s first since 1976 when it was a part of the Soviet Union.

The Russian lunar lander was anticipated to achieve the moon between Aug. 21-23, across the similar time as an Indian craft that was launched on July 14.

Solely three governments have managed profitable moon landings: the Soviet Union, the USA and China. India and Russia are aiming to be the primary to land on the moon’s south pole.

Roscosmos stated it needs to point out Russia “is a state able to delivering a payload to the moon,” and “guarantee Russia’s assured entry to the moon’s floor.”

Sanctions imposed on Russia after it invaded Ukraine make it more durable for the nation to entry Western expertise, impacting its house program. The Luna-25 was initially meant to hold a small moon rover however that concept was deserted to cut back the burden of the craft for improved reliability, analysts say.

“Overseas electronics are lighter, home electronics are heavier,” Egorov stated. “Whereas scientists might need the duty of finding out lunar water, for Roscosmos the principle activity is just to land on the moon — to get well misplaced Soviet experience and discover ways to carry out this activity in a brand new period.”

The spaceport is a pet mission of Russian President Vladimir Putin and is vital to his efforts to make Russia an area superpower and transfer Russian launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

A earlier Indian try and land on the moon’s south pole in 2019 ended when the lander crashed into the moon’s floor.

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