Luna-25 has crashed into the moon: Russia’s space agency Roskosmos

Russia’s lunar ambitions have suffered a setback as the Luna-25 spacecraft, intended to be the nation’s first moon mission in 47 years, met an unfortunate end. On Sunday, the Russian space agency Roskosmos announced that Luna-25 had crashed into the moon due to an unforeseen spin into an uncontrollable orbit.

Luna-25 has crashed into the moon: Russia's space agency Roskosmos

This incident transpired a day after Roskosmos acknowledged encountering difficulties in maneuvering Luna-25 into its designated pre-landing orbit. Despite concerted efforts made on August 19 and 20 to regain control and establish communication with the spacecraft, these attempts proved fruitless. Consequently, the craft veered into an unpredictable trajectory and ultimately collided with the lunar surface, leading to its demise. Roskosmos conveyed these developments in an official statement.

The complications arose during the endeavor to position Luna-25 into the pre-landing orbit at 11:10 GMT on Saturday, with the plan for a planned touchdown scheduled for August 21. Roskosmos disclosed that an “abnormal situation” unfolded onboard the automatic station during this maneuver, preventing the intended adjustments from being executed according to plan. The communication link with Luna-25 was severed at 11:57 GMT on Saturday, as reported by Roskosmos in a succinct statement.

Originally, Luna-25 was designed to spend a year on the moon, primarily engaged in the collection of soil samples and the search for water deposits. Enthusiasts hoped that such water resources could serve as a crucial ingredient for generating rocket fuel for subsequent space launches and potentially sustaining future lunar colonies. The spacecraft’s onboard cameras had already captured images of the lunar landscape.

Roskosmos has committed to launching an in-depth investigation into the root causes of the crash. However, no specific technical issues have been indicated as of yet.

The failure of this high-profile mission underscores Russia’s diminished standing in the field of space exploration, contrasting with its prominent role during the Cold War era. In those times, Moscow achieved significant milestones such as launching the pioneering satellite Sputnik 1 into Earth’s orbit in 1957 and sending Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin on the historic first human spaceflight in 1961.

Since the Luna-24 mission in 1976, conducted under the leadership of Leonid Brezhnev, Russia had abstained from moon missions until the recent launch of Luna-25. The objective of Luna-25 was to perform a gentle landing on the moon’s southern pole on August 21.

This incident comes as India’s Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft races against time to attempt a landing on the moon’s south pole on August 23 at 6:04 pm. Additionally, Russia faces competition from lunar ambitions of China and the United States, both nations boasting advanced plans for lunar exploration.

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