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Russian lunar spacecraft Luna-25 on Wednesday entered the moon’s orbit

On Wednesday (August 16), Russia’s lunar spacecraft Luna-25 achieved a significant feat by entering the moon’s orbit, marking a momentous stride towards fulfilling the nation’s aspiration of landing a spacecraft at the moon’s South Pole.

Experts noted that this event represents the first instance of a Russian spacecraft entering lunar orbit since the Soviet moon mission in 1976. The spacecraft successfully attained lunar orbit at 11:57 AM (local time), as confirmed by Russia’s space agency Roskosmos in an official statement.

Following its orbital entry, Luna-25 will spend five days orbiting the moon before adjusting its trajectory to attempt a gentle landing on the moon’s surface on August 21. About the size of a small car, the spacecraft is set to operate on the South Pole for a year.

Anatoly Zak, the founder and publisher of www.RussianSpaceWeb.com, emphasized the critical nature of entering lunar orbit for the mission’s success, stating, “Entering lunar orbit is absolutely critical for the success of this project. This is a first for the post-Soviet period.” He underscored the broader strategic significance of Luna-25, asserting that it is a pivotal component of Russia’s comprehensive strategy extending over the next decade.

The spacecraft’s upcoming endeavors encompass an array of experiments, including soil sample collection and the exploration of water-ice beneath the lunar surface. The presence of water-ice at the Moon’s South Pole was confirmed by India’s Chandrayaan-1 mission in 2008, which utilized a US instrument. This discovery holds immense implications for major spacefaring nations, potentially extending human stays on the Moon and facilitating the extraction of lunar resources.

Prior to its lunar orbit achievement, Luna-25 transmitted its maiden images from space. These black-and-white images portrayed the spacecraft adorned with the Russian flag and mission patch, offering captivating glimpses of Earth and the Moon against the expansive cosmic backdrop.

Luna-25 is scheduled for a landing window between August 21 and 23, coinciding with India’s lunar mission, Chandrayaan-3, which is anticipated to touch down on August 23-24. The competition for lunar exploration, particularly at the Moon’s South Pole, has garnered global attention, highlighting the significance of becoming the first country to achieve this historic feat.


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