Russia Launches Luna-25 to the Moon: How and When to See

Russia also goes back to the moon.

For the first time since the space race with the United States in the 1960s and 1970s, Russia is set to launch Luna-25, a medium-sized robotic lander headed for the moon’s south pole. The mission has been in development for years before Russia invaded Ukraine, but President Vladimir V. It comes at a time when Putin is looking to space as a way to return to Russia’s great power status.

The launch is scheduled for Thursday at 7:10 p.m. ET from the Vostochny space station in eastern Russia. (It’s Friday morning in Russia, 9:10 a.m. in Vostokny and 2:10 a.m. in Moscow.)

The Russian TV network will be RT Streaming coverage of the release At 6 p.m. Eastern, Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, is on it YouTube channel.

After the success of NASA’s Apollo moon landings from 1969 to 1972, the world’s space agencies largely lost interest in the moon. Russia completed several robotic landings after the end of the Apollo program, culminating with the Luna-24 mission in 1976.

In the decades that followed, attention shifted to more distant places in the Solar System. But the discovery of water ice in shadow craters at the moon’s polar regions has reignited interest.

Russia has been trying to revive its lunar program for the past quarter-century, and Russian officials have talked about sending Russian astronauts there as well.

“The lander’s architecture is similar to what the Soviet Union developed in the 70s to land on the moon,” said publisher Anatoly Zak. RussianSpaceWeb.com, It closely monitors Russian space activities.

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“However, this is a scaled-down version” that takes advantage of some modern technological advances, Mr. Sake said. “When they decided to call it Luna-25, it was justified, because, in fact, it is a continuation of the Soviet tradition.”

However, the Russian space program has been hampered by limited funding, sanctions imposed after the invasion of Ukraine, and technological limitations, particularly in electronics. Some Russians have even expressed skepticism about the prospects of the Russian lunar exploration program.

“The Russian government is looking for any ‘wins’ to show they don’t care about sanctions,” said Denis Shiryav, a Russian blogger who writes about technology. He added, “The news is often published for the sake of it, not for the actual publication.”

Luna-25 will be launched atop a Soyuz rocket and orbit the Earth. The rocket’s upper stage will then fire and land on a journey to the moon in about five days.

Once on the Moon, the Luna-25 lander will enter a circular orbit about 60 miles above the surface. The lander will spend about seven days in an elliptical orbit, sinking within a dozen miles of the surface. Roscosmos has not announced a planned landing date.

Luna-25, if successfully landed, should remain operational for at least a year. Its primary landing target is north of the Bogoslavsky Crater, located at about 70 degrees south latitude. Planned tests include digging up the soil and analyzing what it’s made of. It can dig up some water ice below the surface.

Landers from many countries have sent robotic spacecraft to the moon in recent years. Only China has won three out of three.

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All other landing attempts, including an attempt by Japanese company IceSpace in April, have failed.

Last month, India launched its latest lunar mission, Chandrayaan 3. On a circular, energy-efficient trajectory, Chandrayaan 3 5 entered orbit around the Moon, and its landing attempt, at a location near the South Pole, is planned. For August 23 – Luna-25 at the same time.

Luna-25 is planned to be the first in a series of increasingly ambitious robotic missions to the Moon. Luna-26 was intended to be an orbiter, while Luna-27 was a larger, more capable lander.

Russian cooperation with NASA continues on the International Space Station, but Russia has refused to join NASA’s Artemis program to send astronauts back to the moon. Instead, it announced it would work with China to build a lunar base in the 2030s.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine led to the European Space Agency ending its cooperation with Roscosmos on planetary missions. A European-built experimental navigation camera was removed from Luna-25. ESA ends collaboration on ExoMars mission; Its Rosalind Franklin rover was launched on a Russian rocket and then transported to the surface of Mars via a Russian lander.

Anton Troyanovsky, Alina Lobzina And Milana Mazeva Contributed report.

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