Russia Announces First Lunar Mission in Nearly 50 Years
Russian space agency, Roscosmos, announced on Monday, 7 August, that they will be returning to the Moon for the first time in nearly 50 years.
The Luna-25 lander will be launched in the early hours of Friday morning, 11 August, on a Soyuz rocket. The rocket was assembled at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Russian Far East and can fit up to three astronauts.
Estimates suggest that the trip between the Earth and the Moon will last between four-and-a-half days and five-and-a-half days, before the 800-kilogram rocket touches down in the region of the lunar south pole.
“The Luna-25 will have to practise soft landing, take and analyse soil samples, and conduct long-term scientific research,” Roscosmos said in a statement released to the media.
Russia’s last mission to the moon was that of the space probe Luna-24 in 1976, just 15 years after the then-Soviet Union put the first man into space in 1961 despite “total” sanctions at the time, according to President Vladimir Putin.
The mission is expected to be just the start of Russia’s resurging space programme, as Putin has expressed an eagerness to strengthen the lunar programme despite current sanctions placed against the country by the West.
“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 during a press conference at the Cosmodrome last year.
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