Global NewsRussia To Launch Lunar Mission This Week, First In...

Russia To Launch Lunar Mission This Week, First In Nearly 5 Decades


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Russia To Launch Lunar Mission This Week, First In Nearly 5 Decades

The four-legged lander is expected to touch down in the region of the lunar south pole. (File)


Russia said Monday it plans to launch a lunar lander this week after multiple delays, hoping to return to the Moon for the first time in nearly 50 years.

The launch, which is scheduled for the early hours of Friday, comes as Russia’s Ukraine offensive stretches into a second year, sparking huge tensions with the West.

With the Luna-25 lander, Russia’s first since 1976, Moscow is keen to restart and build upon a pioneering Soviet-era lunar program.

The Russian space agency said that a Soyuz rocket had been assembled at the Vostochny cosmodrome in the Russian Far East for the launch of the Luna-25.

“The launch is on August 11,” Roscosmos said in a statement.

“The Luna-25 will have to practise soft landing, take and analyse soil samples and conduct long-term scientific research,” the statement added.

The four-legged lander, which weighs around 800 kilograms, is expected to touch down in the region of the lunar south pole. By contrast, most Moon landings occur near the lunar equator.

The launch is the first mission of Moscow’s new lunar program and comes as Russia looks to strengthen cooperation in space with China amid ruptured ties with the West.

After President Vladimir Putin sent troops to Ukraine last year, the European Space Agency (ESA) said it would not cooperate with Moscow on the upcoming Luna-25 launch as well as future 26 and 27 missions.

Despite the pullout, Moscow said at the time it would go ahead with its lunar plans and replace ESA equipment with Russian-made scientific instruments.

Speaking at the Vostochny cosmodrome last year, Putin said the Soviet Union put the first man into space in 1961 despite “total” sanctions. He insisted Moscow would develop its lunar programme despite current Western sanctions.

“We are guided by the ambition of our ancestors to move forward, despite any difficulties and any attempts to prevent us in this movement from the outside,” Putin said at the time.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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