For the first time since 1976, a Russian spacecraft has been launched towards the Moon. This Wednesday, its launch into orbit was a success, announced the space agency Roscosmos.
The first Russian lunar probe launched in nearly 50 years, Luna-25, was successfully placed in lunar orbit on Wednesday, Russian space agency Roscosmos announced.
“For the first time in contemporary Russian history, an automatic station was placed in lunar orbit at 12:03 p.m. Moscow time,” the Roscosmos press service told AFP.
A first since 1976
The launch of the Luna-25 probe is the first lunar mission for Moscow since 1976, when the USSR was a pioneer in the conquest of space.
“All systems of ‘Luna-25’ are working normally, communication with it is stable,” according to the same source.
The orbiting was carried out using the probe’s engine which was plugged in twice starting at 11:57 a.m. Moscow time, the first time for 243 seconds, the second time for 76 seconds, Roscosmos explained in a communicated.
The probe will circle the Moon, 100 kilometers from its surface, before its scheduled landing on Monday north of the Bogouslavsky crater, on the lunar south pole, according to the agency.
Sunday, the cameras installed on the probe made the first photos from space, where we can see elements of the probe with, in the distance, the Earth and the Moon, announced Roscosmos.
The probe of nearly 800 kilos carried by a Soyuz rocket took off on the night of August 10 to 11 from the Vostotchny cosmodrome in the Far East.
A historic future moon landing
The probe, which will have to stay on the Moon for a year, will have the task of taking samples and analyzing the soil of the Moon.
“For the first time in history, the moon landing will be carried out on the lunar south pole. Until now, everyone was landing in the equatorial zone”, welcomed a senior official of Roscosmos, Alexandre Blokhine, in a recent interview with the official Rossiïskaïa Gazeta newspaper.
The mission is intended to give new impetus to the Russian space sector, which has been struggling for years due to funding problems and corruption scandals, and now isolated due to the conflict in Ukraine.
President Vladimir Putin has promised to continue Russia’s space program despite sanctions, citing the example of the USSR sending the first man into space in 1961, amid escalating East-West tensions.
Source: BFM TV