Friday, September 22

Luna-25 mission is launched by Russia as part of its race towards the South Pole.

An unmanned spacecraft was sent from the Vostochny cosmodrome to the moon’s icy south pole on August 11 by Russia.

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On Friday, Russia launched a spacecraft that is set to land on the moon. This marks Russia’s first attempt since 1976, when it was in tit-for-digit competition with the US and Soviet Union for space supremacy during the Cold War.

Luna-25, an unmanned spacecraft, was reported to have departed from the southeast of Russia at 2:11 a.m. local time, as stated by Roscosmos.

Roscosmos has announced that the spacecraft will take just over five days to reach the moon’s vicinity, and then it will spend several days in orbit before attempting a gentle landing on the lunar surface.

The schedule puts Russia in a tight competition with India, which launched the Chandrayaan-3 lunar lander last month and is hoping to soft-land by August 23. Roscosmos chief Yuri Borisov stated during the launch that they aim to be the first to achieve this goal.


Moscow’s decision is aimed at entering the lucrative and highly sought-after geopolitical arena of advanced moon exploration, which it hopes to achieve alongside the United States and China. (Failed attempts by Japan and Israel in recent years have also been unsuccessful.)

Russia has been preparing for the moonshot for many years, but it is happening while the Kremlin is facing economic sanctions and being considered a virtual pariah by many Western countries for its invasion of Ukraine. While Russia remains primarily an important partner in NASA, its aerospace industry has faced challenges related to using Western-made technology, funding, and research partnerships.

Vitaly Egorov, a Russian space analyst and blogger, stated to the Associated Press that the launch was not about studying the moon, but rather about political rivalry between China and the USA, who are both vying for power as space superpowers.

The United States emerged victorious in the space race between Russia and the Soviet Union after launching their first satellites, Sputnik 1 and Vostok 1, in 1957.

Borisov, the director general of Roscosmos, praised the launch on Friday as a “new chapter” for Russian space exploration. He stated on state television that all research findings will be transmitted to Earth, with an emphasis on the presence of water and other soil and site experiments.

NASA has stated that the Luna-25 lander has a four-legged base with landing rockets and propellant tanks, as well as an upper compartment that houses solar panels, communications equipment, onboard computers, and most of its scientific equipment.


The lander’s dry mass is estimated to be around 800 kilograms (about 1,760 pounds) and it has a lunar robotic arm measuring 1.6 meters in length, equipped with specialized tools to scoop up rocks, soil, and dust to investigate the composition of the southern pole. If successful, Roscosmos plans to use the spacecraft for one year.

Roscosmos announced on Friday via Telegram that the rocket was operating normally, with the upper stage being separated from the third stage and now guiding the automatic station towards the Moon.

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The launch was preceded by a prolonged preparation process and high expectations, as stated.

The Indian Space Research Organization tweeted a message of congratulations to Roscosmos for the successful launch of Luna-25.


This year, China and the United States have both revealed their plans to launch astronauts on the moon before 2030, creating a new level of competition. Borisov, Russia’s space chief, stated that Russia will conduct three additional lunar launches from 2027 to 2030.

“Also, we and our Chinese colleagues will proceed to the next stage of pursuing manned missions to Mars and building a lunar base,” he added.

NASA has expressed its plans to establish a sustainable presence at the lunar south pole. It recently awarded contracts to develop technologies that could enable humans to live on the moon for months.

Despite this, Americans may not be as enthusiastic about returning astronauts to the moon as they were in July. A Pew Research poll revealed that only 12 percent of adults in the US believe NASA should prioritize monitoring climate change and searching for asteroids that could impact Earth.

The search for frozen water, particularly in the shadowed craters of the moon’s south pole, is attracting interest from many nations. Not only does water play a crucial role in maintaining life, but it can also be used to produce air and other commercial products by breaking down its components into hydrogen and oxygen.

Christian Davenport was part of the team that contributed to this report.

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