Russia postpones its first mission launched to the moon’s surface in 45 years to 2022

The Luna-24 mission was launched by the Soviet Union in 1976 to land on the Moon, collect samples and return them to Earth. Today, more than 40 years later, the resumption of lunar exploration by Russia was scheduled to take place in October this year, with the launch of the Luna-25 mission. However, on Tuesday (24), the Russian space agency Roscosmos announced that the launch of the mission, which would take place on October 1, was postponed to May 2022 due to problems identified during the probe’s tests.

According to Alexander Shirshakov, lead engineer at NPO Lavochkin, one of the largest aerospace companies in the country, this change happened because more time is needed to complete the probe’s tests. “We encountered certain problems during testing,” he explained in an interview. “A safe landing system is of crucial importance, and we are working on the soft landing system for the Luna 25.” Thus, the launch was postponed to the second possible launch window, which starts in May of next year.

Luna 25 during the assembly stage (Image: Reproduction/Roscosmos)

Luna-25 will be launched to investigate the lunar south pole with a focus on subterranean ice there. According to Lev Zelenyi, scientific adviser to the Russian Institute for Space Research, this is just the beginning, as our natural satellite will be the focus of the country’s program for the next decade. Thus, this will be the first in a series of diverse missions: between 2023 and 2024, Roscosmos intends to launch the Luna 26, which will have an orbiter to detect magnetic and gravitational anomalies there. Luna 27, on the other hand, has an estimated release for 2025, and Luna 28 remains, for the time being, without a forecast for its release.

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Today, Russia is one of the countries to join a race to send missions to our natural satellite, and this dispute has become even more fierce with the Chinese mission Chang’e 5, which, in December 2020, brought the first to earth. lunar samples collected since 1976. The United States, in turn, plans to take the next astronauts — and, this time, the first woman — to the lunar surface in 2024, through the Artemis program. In parallel, Russians and Chinese have been joining forces in various endeavors, including a joint station built on the lunar surface.

Source: Phys.org, TASS

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