Russia’s Luna-25 space craft has crashed into the moon after it spun into uncontrolled orbit, Russia’s space corporation, Roskosmos said.
Roskosmos earlier disclosed that an “abnormal situation” had occurred as mission control tried to move the craft into a pre-landing orbit at 11:10 GMT on Saturday, ahead of a planned touchdown slated for Monday.
The failure of Russia’s first moon mission in 47 years underscore the decline of Russia’s space power since the glory days of Cold War competition, when 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, as disclosed by Russian space officials.
Russia has been racing against India, whose Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft is also scheduled to land on the moon’s south pole this week, and more broadly against China and the United States which both have advanced lunar ambitions.
The failure also underscores the pressure on Russia’s $2tn economy – and particularly its high-technology sectors – as it grapples with western sanctions aimed at punishing Russia for the war in Ukraine.
Preliminary analysis disclosed that in light of deviation of the actual parameters form of the impulse from the estimated ones, the Luna 25 spacecraft entered an unplanned orbit and ceased to exist after colliding with the surface of the Moon”, Roskosmos said.