Russia’s headline-grabbing Moon mission has reportedly ended in failure after the Luna-25 spacecraft crashed into the lunar surface.
The mission was designed to become the first to land on the Moon’s resource-rich South Pole, with one expert telling Brussels Signal last week that, despite its flaws, the effort could represent a historic achievement for mankind.
According to a report by Russia’s TASS news service, the Roscosmos space agency has lost contact with its craft, which is now believed to have been destroyed.
“Preliminary analysis results suggest that a deviation between the actual and calculated parameters of the propulsion manoeuvre led the Luna-25 spacecraft to enter an undesignated orbit and it ceased to exist following a collision with the surface of the Moon,” a spokesman said.
An interdepartmental commission is now said to be investigating the circumstances that led to the crash.
Russia’s latest moon mission will probably represent the “last hurrah” of the country’s illustrious space programme, an expert has told Brussels Signal. https://t.co/rFLV5JFQ5W
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) August 17, 2023
The catastrophe marks a bitter end to Russia’s first Moon mission since the demise of the Soviet Union, with the venture proving to be a profitable propaganda outlet for the Kremlin.
Speaking to Brussels Signal, expert Dr John B Sheldon warned earlier in August that Moscow’s space programme was in particularly poor condition, with Luna-25 representing a bright spot for a declining agency.
“Russia’s Luna-25 is a Potemkin space mission, in that it will be the only one of its kind from the decrepit Russian space programme and provides a false sense that Russia’s space sector is healthy and filled with promise,” he said.
“Beyond Luna-25, however, things are grim in the Russian space programme across every imaginable front.”
Such a disastrous end to Luna-25 may prove fortunate for India, whose own Chandrayaan-3 space mission had been racing against the Russian effort to become the first manmade craft to successfully touch down on the Moon’s South Pole.
The Indian Space Research Organisation has now said that its mission is in the final stages, with the Vikram lander now actively searching for a safe location to land on the lunar surface. An attempt at successfully landing the spacecraft is now expected to take place on August 23.
The European Space Agency’s rocket, aimed at rivalling the services provided by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, will not launch this year. https://t.co/xBuwUonmIi
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) August 10, 2023