Luna-25 Suffers "Emergency Situation" In Lunar Orbit

Russia's Luna-25 spacecraft has encountered an "emergency situation" during a critical maneuver in Lunar orbit.

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Zac Aubert

Zac Aubert

Published: 19th Aug 2023 17:50 GMT
Written by: Zac Aubert

UPDATE! Luna-25 Has Been Lost - Read More: https://tlpnetwork.com/news/2023/08/luna-25-has-crashed

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Russia's Luna-25 spacecraft has encountered an "emergency situation" during a critical maneuver in Lunar orbit.

The Russian Space Agency, Roscosmos, released a statement via Telegram stating that the Luna-25 spacecraft was instructed to execute a maneuver at 7:10 am Eastern Time, aiming to position the spacecraft into a "pre-landing" orbit around the moon. Unfortunately, the planned maneuver was derailed by an unexpected emergency situation on board the automatic station, preventing the execution of the intended parameters. Roscosmos has dispatched its management team to analyze the situation further.

No specific details regarding the nature of the emergency or the exact maneuver the spacecraft was attempting has been provided by Roscosmos.

The incident's potential impact on the scheduled landing, set for August 21, remains uncertain.

Luna-25's journey commenced with its launch aboard a Soyuz-2.1b rocket from Russia's Vostochny Cosmodrome on August 10. Just days prior to the emergency, on August 16, the spacecraft successfully maneuvered into lunar orbit.

This mission holds significant importance for Russia, marking its first lunar exploration endeavor since the Luna-24 sample return mission in 1976.  Luna-25's development was beset by years of delays caused by technical hurdles and constrained resources. Furthermore, the mission lost a significant partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA). The ESA had intended to contribute a navigation camera system to the lander, but it severed ties with Roscosmos following Russia's military intervention in Ukraine the previous year.

Luna-25 carries a payload of Russian scientific instruments weighing 30 kilograms. The targeted landing area lies close to the Boguslawsky crater, located around 70 degrees south latitude in the moon's south polar region.

India's Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft, launched on July 14, entered lunar orbit on August 5 and is set to attempt a landing on August 23 in the moon's south polar region. Concurrently, Japan's space agency JAXA plans to launch the Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) along with the XRISM X-ray astronomy observatory on August 25. SLIM, designed to showcase precision landing technologies, aims to land near Shioli crater at 13 degrees south latitude on the moon, approximately four to six months after its launch.

As Russia's Roscosmos grapples with the emergency aboard Luna-25, the global space community watches closely to determine the impact on its lunar ambitions and whether the mission can overcome this setback to achieve its historic landing.

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