The Russian space agency Roscosmos said that the Russian spacecraft Luna-25 collided with the surface of the moon.
“Measures taken on August 19 and 20 to search for the device and come into contact with it have yielded no results. According to preliminary analysis results, due to deviations of the actual parameters of the pulses. Compared with the calculated parameters, the instrument has moved to an orbit beyond the design and no longer exists due to a collision with the lunar surface,” the Russian space agency said.
It added that a specially formed inter-ministerial committee would deal with the issues of clarifying the reasons for the loss.
The mission failure underscores the decline of Russia’s space power since the glory days of the Cold War when Moscow was the first to launch the satellite Sputnik 1 into Earth orbit in 1957, and Yuri Gagarin, Soviet cosmonaut who became the first man to travel into space in 1961.
The country has not carried out a lunar mission since Luna 24 in 1976, when Leonid Brezhnev was head of the Kremlin. Luna-25 is estimated to make a slight landing on the moon’s south pole on August 21.
Russia’s Luna-25 has been racing against India’s Chandrayaan 3, which is scheduled for a soft landing on the moon’s south pole on August 23 between 5:30pm and 6:30pm. To date, no other country has been able to soft-land their spacecraft to the south pole of the moon.
Earlier this month, ISRO President S Somnath said that the Vikram lander would land gently on the lunar surface even if all else fails.
He said even if everything doesn’t work, all the sensors, if nothing works, the Vikram lander will still land. He said Vikram Lander has been designed in such a way that it can handle many losers, as long as all the algorithms work properly. We also make sure that if this time the two engines of the Vikram lander don’t work properly, it can still land,” he said.
First published: 08/20/2023 14:47 IST