At the end of the week, Russia wants to send a lander to the moon for the first time in almost 50 years. With India, a veritable race to the south pole of the earth’s satellite is imminent. Luna 25 is scheduled to launch on Friday with a Soyuz-2.1b rocket from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in eastern Russia, reports the Tass news agency. Together they are already on the starting grid. With the mission, Russia wants to build on the successful Luna missions of the Soviet Union. Luna 24 was the last mission to bring moon rocks to Earth in 1976. The next mission was originally supposed to start in 2012, but then there were repeated delays. After Russia’s attack on Ukraine, ESA withdrew from the project.
“Enough space for everyone”
The three possible landing areas and the craters Boguslawsky (green(, Manzinus (red) and Pentland A (white)
Russia’s space agency Roskosmos has told Reuters that the probe will need five days to reach the moon and then continue to orbit it for another five to seven days. Then she will try to land at one of three possible landing sites near the Boguslawsky crater at the south pole of the moon. This could allow Luna 25 to descend to the moon at the same time as India’s Chandrayaan-3 probe. It has been on the road since July 14th and is scheduled to land on August 23rd or 24th. According to Roskosmos, however, there is no danger that the two devices will get in each other’s way, as they are aimed at different landing areas. And “there is enough space on the moon for everyone”.
In total, Russia is currently preparing three Luna missions to the moon. Until the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, ESA wanted to contribute several instruments, including a device for taking and analyzing soil samples. Instead, the space agency wants to send it to the moon with a privately developed probe. Russia’s space industry has been largely isolated since the beginning of the war, only cooperation in the operation of the International Space Station ISS has continued unaffected. After a series of delays, the launch of Luna 25 was recently postponed again from July to August. At 3:10 a.m. CEST on Friday night it should be ready.
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