Russia’s highly anticipated lunar mission, marking its return to Lunar exploration after decades, has encountered a disappointing setback with the crash of its spacecraft Luna-25.
The Luna 25 spacecraft, which was set to undertake a historic journey, encountered a major failure, leading to a crash on the moon’s surface. This incident has blown up Russia’s space ambitions and unfolded due to an interruption in communication with the autonomous spacecraft.
Roscosmos, the space agency of Russia has said that they reported the loss of contact with Luna 25 on Saturday around 14:57 Moscow time.
Despite diligent efforts undertaken on August 19 and 20 to locate the spacecraft and restore communication, these endeavors proved futile, leaving Roscosmos without a connection to the craft.
This spacecraft was launched to make a soft landing on the south pole of the moon which unfortunately experienced a crash on the lunar surface. Confirming the unfortunate event of this crash, the space agency Roscosmos on Sunday acknowledged that the incident occurred by a distinction between the spacecraft’s actual trajectory and the calculated parameters of its propulsion maneuver. Due to this deviation, Luna-25 diverged into unintended orbit, ultimately resulting in an unfortunate collision with the moon’s surface.
After the Luna-25 flight program on August 19, a maneuver was conducted to establish its elliptical orbit in preparation for landing. However, at approximately 14:57 Moscow time, communication with the Luna-25 spacecraft was unexpectedly lost. Despite the effort taken on both August 19 and 20 to locate the device and re-establish communication, no favorable outcomes were achieved, Roscosmos State Space Corporation said on its official Telegram channel.
The space agency further added that it has established an interdepartmental commission that will investigate the factors contributing to the unfortunate failure of Luna-25.
The crash incident came hours after the Russian space agency’s disclosure of an “abnormal situation” with Luna-25. The space agency said that the spacecraft confronted an unspecified complication while endeavoring its attempt to enter its intended pre-landing orbit. The exact nature of this problem remains unclear, and the agency’s specialists are currently engaged in a thorough examination and evaluation of the situation.
“During the operation, an unexpected situation transpired within the automatic station, which did not allow the intended maneuver to be performed according to the prescribed parameters,” Roscosmos conveyed in a Telegram post.
Does the crash of Luna-25 affect the schedule of Chandrayaan-3?
The crash of Luna-25 will not affect the schedule of Chandrayaan-3 as India’s Lunar mission continues to progress smoothly towards achieving a gentle touchdown on the moon’s south pole on August 23rd. The landing date and exact timing of the landing have been formally verified by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), set at 6:04 PM (IST). ISRO also carried out the second and final round of deboosting of Chandrayaan-3.
ISRO, in a tweet, stated that the second and the final deboosting maneuver has effectively decreased the lunar module’s orbit to 25km X 134km. After which the module would undergo internal checks and await the predetermined landing site until sunrise. The powered descent is expected to initiate at approximately 17:45 (IST) on August 23, 2023.