According to the Russian space agency, the Russian robotic spacecraft Luna-25 reached the moon but crash-landed on Sunday.
It was Russia’s first lunar landing mission since the 1970s, and it was set to touch down this coming Monday after entering lunar orbit last Wednesday. However, an issue arose, and the spacecraft lost contact with the vehicle 47 minutes after the engine firing had begun. Despite attempts to regain communication, Luna-25 never returned to its initial orbit and was destroyed upon impact with the lunar surface.
An interdisciplinary panel will be formed to investigate the incident.
Government space projects and business enterprises are interested in the south polar zone of the moon because it may contain water ice that astronauts may utilize in the future, and Luna-25 aimed to be the first mission to reach this region. The lander’s loss during a relatively safe project phase will draw even more attention to Russia’s space woes.
President Vladimir V. Putin, who has exploited space accomplishments to cement his position, may take a hit after this unsuccessful mission. According to the Kremlin, the West, headed by the United States, is ‘envious of Russia and is threatened by its greatness.’
Russia’s efforts to reshape its geopolitical ties have benefited dramatically from the country’s state-run space sector.
The crash of the Luna-25 spacecraft has postponed the mission’s primary objectives—studying the lunar surface and demonstrating technology for future robotic missions. Due to budget constraints, the Russian space program has been limited to missions to and from the International Space Station in low Earth orbit.
Already years behind schedule, the launches of Luna 26, 27, and 28 are expected to be further delayed by sanctions imposed following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Roscosmos will need to decide whether or not to retry the Luna-25 mission and test the landing technology, which is currently untested. Russia has had difficulty creating new space gear, particularly space-ready electronics.
The completion of Russia’s other grandiose space programs is similarly running behind schedule and is expected to take far longer than the official statements suggest. It has been difficult for Russia’s space program to create new space technology, particularly electronics, that can withstand the extreme environments of space.