20 Aug 2023

Russia's Luna-25 Spacecraft Crashes On Moon, Roscosmos Confirms

Russia's Luna-25 spacecraft has crashed. Space agency Roscosmos said that its contact was lost at 05:27 pm on Saturday. On Saturday, there was a technical fault while changing the pre-landing orbit. Luna was to land on August 21 near the Boguslavsky Crater at the South Pole of the Moon.

Spacecraft went into an off-design orbit 

The space agency said that the results of the initial analysis showed that the spacecraft deviated from the parameters that were set according to the calculations. This caused the spacecraft to go into an off-design orbit and crash on the moon.

Spacecraft could not fire thruster as per prescribed parameters

Roscosmos reported that according to the flight program of Luna-25, the spacecraft was commanded to enter a pre-landing orbit (18 Km x 100 Km). This command was given at 04:30 pm Indian time on Saturday. During this, an emergency condition was created on Luna as the spacecraft could not fire the thruster as per the prescribed parameters.

The Luna-25 spacecraft was launched on August 11 from the Vostochny Cosmodrome via a Soyuz 2.1B rocket. Luna-25 was sent from Earth's orbit to the Moon on the same day. The spacecraft reached the 100 km orbit of the moon on August 16 at 2:27 pm.

Russia sent its mission to the moon after 47 years. Earlier in 1976, it had sent the Luna-24 mission. Luna-24 had safely returned to Earth with about 170 grams of lunar dust. All the moon missions that have happened so far have reached the moon's equator, this was the first time that a mission was about to land on the south pole of the moon.

Luna was scheduled to land before Chandrayaan-3

India's space agency ISRO launched the Chandrayaan-3 mission on 14 July 2023. Less fuel is used and the vehicle reaches the moon at less cost, so it has used the Earth's gravity. Fuel is saved in this process, but it takes more time. That's why Chandrayaan is taking more time to reach the moon.

Luna-25 was to land near Boguslawsky Crater of the Moon while Chandrayaan will land near Manzinus Crater. Its coordinates are 69.36˚S and 32.34˚E. The distance between these two craters is more than 100 km.

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