Edinburgh, 25 August 2021. – Russia postponed its first mission to the Moon in 45 years due to problems during tests of the Luna-25 spacecraft, Roscosmos said.
The mission was originally scheduled for 1st October from the Vostochny Cosmodrome and has now been moved to May 2022.
The Luna-25 mission aimed at the Moon’s south pole will probe ice deposits. The chief engineer of Russia’s state NPO Lavochkin design bureau said more time was needed to complete successful trials. He also explained that they were still working on Luna-25’s soft landing system to make it safe.
The race back to the Moon is in full swing after China became the first country in 2020 to return samples from our satellite since the Soviet Luna-24 mission in 1976. NASA also pledged to land the next man, the first person of colour and the first woman on the Moon in 2024 as part of its Artemis program. Meanwhile Russia and China announced plans for a joint lunar station in March earlier this year.
Russia’s space program has suffered from problems like corruption scandals and budget cuts in recent years. The country also lost its monopoly over manned flights to the ISS in 2020 after SpaceX’s success. However, Roscosmos has announced new endeavours including a mission to Venus and the creation of a rocket capable of round trips to space. Russia has also implied plans to leave the ISS and launch its own orbital station in 2025.