Russia on Friday launched Luna 25, the country’s first lunar mission in 47 years. Luna-25 took off from the Vostochny launch facility in Russia’s Far East, Russia-based TASS news agency reported.
Launched aboard a Soyuz-2 Fregat rocket, Luna 25 took flight at 8:10 am (local time) on Friday. The Fregat booster separated from the rocket’s third stage approximately 564 seconds after the launch, according to TASS reported. The Luna-25 spacecraft will separate from the booster about an hour after the launch. The flight to the moon will take up to 5.5 days, as reported by news agency ANI.
NOW – Russia launches its first mission to the moon in nearly 50 years. pic.twitter.com/DWwqc3unax
— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) August 10, 2023
ANI reported that the spacecraft will spend between three and seven days about 100 kilometers above the lunar surface before reaching the Boguslawsky crater area. Meanwhile, Manzinus and Pentland-A craters have been named as alternative landing sites.
The primary goal of the mission will be to polish the soft landing technology. The mission might become the first spacecraft ever to reach near the South Pole of the Earth’s natural satellite, according to TASS.
The spacecraft will look for natural resources, including water, and analyse the effects of space rays and electromagnetic emissions on the lunar surface. Luna 25, also called the Luna-Glob-Lander, will study the composition of the moon’s polar soil and the plasma and dust contained in the very thin lunar exosphere, or the moon’s scant atmosphere, for one year, the ANI report added.
The lander has several cameras and they will make timelapse footage of the landing and an HDR wide-angle image of the moonscape. Luna-25 will turn its cameras during pre-programmed periods and after a signal from the Earth, TASS reported.
USA’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) provided some additional details about the Luna-25 mission. Their statement read, “The lander has a four-legged base containing the landing rockets and propellant tanks, an upper compartment holds the solar panels, communication equipment, on-board computers, and most of the science apparatus.”
According to NASA, the lander has a 1.6 meter-long Lunar Robotic Arm (LRA, or Lunar Manipulator Complex) to remove and gather the surface regolith to depths of 20 to 30 cm. The LRA is equipped with a scoop (175 cubic cm volume) and a sample acquisition tool, a 4.7 cm long tube with an internal diameter of 1.25 cm.
The Moon landing mission is a significant development as the Western world tries to alienate Russia more and more. It is being perceived as a power statement by Putin, to show the world that despite being tangled in a difficult war, Russia still has enough steam to carry out complex space missions and maintain a healthy economy.
Congratulations, Roscosmos on the successful launch of Luna-25 💐
Wonderful to have another meeting point in our space journies
missions to achieve their goals.
— ISRO (@isro) August 11, 2023
Indian space organization ISRO, whose Chandrayaan 3 mission is also on the way to the Moon, has congratulated Roscosmos, the Russian space agency.
“Congratulations, Roscosmos on the successful launch of Luna-25. Wonderful to have another meeting point in our space journies. Wishes for Luna-25 and Chandrayaan-3 missions to achieve their goals”, ISRO wrote.
Luna-25 might reach the Moon before Chandrayaan-3, or around the same time. Chandrayaan-3, though currently in the lunar orbit, has the scheduled date of Moon landing on August 23. Luna-25 is expected to take only 5.5 days to reach the 100 Km distance from the Moon, there it will spend 3-7 days before landing at the lunar South Pole.