Russia’s first moon mission in 47 years failed when its Luna-25 space craft spun out of control and crashed into the moon after a problem preparing for pre-landing orbit, underscoring the post-Soviet decline of a once mighty space program.
Russia’s state space corporation, Roskosmos, said it had lost contact with the craft at 11:57 GMT on Saturday after a problem as the craft was shunted into pre-landing orbit. A soft landing had been planned for Monday.
“The apparatus moved into an unpredictable orbit and ceased to exist as a result of a collision with the surface of the Moon,” Roskosmos said in a statement.
The Guardian reports:
Moscow was the first to launch a satellite to orbit the Earth– Sputnik 1, in 1957 – and Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man to travel into space in 1961. Russia had not attempted a moon mission since Luna-24 in 1976, when Leonid Brezhnev ruled the Kremlin. Luna-25 was supposed to execute a soft landing on the south pole of the moon on 21 August, according to Russian space officials. The failure also underscores the pressure on Russia’s $2tn economy.
Russia’s Luna-25 space craft crashes into the moon https://t.co/0Emg7a9RVg
— Guardian news (@guardiannews) August 20, 2023