Luna-25 has crashed into the moon: Russia’s space agency Roskosmos Russia’s first moon mission in decades fails as Luna-25 crashes into lunar surface; all eyes on Chandrayaan-3 now

Russia’s much-anticipated return to lunar exploration suffered a setback as Luna-25, the country’s first moon mission in decades, ended in disappointment with a crash landing on the lunar surface. In contrast, all attention is now focused on Chandrayaan-3, India’s upcoming mission, as it prepares for its descent scheduled for approximately 5:45 pm IST on Wednesday.

The Russian space agency, Roscosmos, officially confirmed the crash landing of Luna-25 on the Moon’s surface on Sunday afternoon, marking a disheartening conclusion to its inaugural lunar mission after a gap of 47 years since the former Soviet Union’s last lunar landing.

As Luna-25’s mission faced an unfortunate end, Chandrayaan-3 assumes the spotlight as it gears up for its own crucial maneuver. On Sunday morning, the Chandrayaan-3 Lander Module successfully entered its pre-landing orbit, situated at a distance of 25 km x 134 km from the lunar surface. This strategic positioning primes the spacecraft for its scheduled descent on Wednesday, set to take place at around 1745 IST. The entire touchdown operation is projected to take approximately 15 minutes.

Amidst the shadow cast by Luna-25’s mission failure, Chandrayaan-3 has garnered heightened attention as it prepares for its own critical descent maneuver. In a promising move, the Chandrayaan-3 Lander Module smoothly transitioned into its designated pre-landing orbit on Sunday morning. Positioned at an approximate distance of 25 km x 134 km from the lunar surface, this orbit sets the stage for the spacecraft’s scheduled descent, slated to take place around 1745 IST on Wednesday. A carefully choreographed operation, the entire touchdown process is anticipated to unfold over a span of roughly 15 minutes.

Reassuring space enthusiasts, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) confirmed that Chandrayaan-3 remains in excellent operational condition and is diligently preparing for its imminent descent. Notably, the timing of the mission aligns with the lunar day-time phase, which extends to about 14 Earth days. ISRO elucidated that following internal assessments, the module will await the dawn at its designated lunar landing site. The powered descent, a pivotal phase in the mission, is tentatively scheduled to initiate on August 23, 2023, at around 1745 hours IST.

Originally, Luna-25 and Chandrayaan-3 were set to make their respective soft landings on the lunar surface in close succession, with Luna-25’s intended touchdown date on August 21, just two days before Chandrayaan-3’s scheduled descent. Both missions were strategically aimed at exploring the region near the Moon’s southern pole, a region of particular interest to scientists and researchers.

However, Luna-25’s journey encountered complications on Saturday during its endeavor to transition into the pre-landing orbit. Roscosmos reported the emergence of an “emergency situation” within the spacecraft, which ultimately thwarted the planned orbit-reduction maneuver. Adding to the challenge, communication with the spacecraft was also lost, exacerbating the issue. Roscosmos conveyed its determination to rectify the problems encountered.

In light of the unfolding developments, Roscosmos officially confirmed Luna-25’s crash landing on Sunday afternoon, marking a poignant contrast to the optimism that initially surrounded the mission. With Luna-25’s setback in mind, all eyes remain intently focused on Chandrayaan-3, now a beacon of hope for achieving a successful lunar landing near the Moon’s southern pole. As the narratives of lunar exploration continue to evolve, Chandrayaan-3’s mission holds the potential to make history as the first spacecraft to accomplish this remarkable feat.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has reassured that Chandrayaan-3 is functioning optimally and undergoing preparations for its anticipated descent, which coincides with the lunar day-time phase lasting around 14 days on Earth. ISRO conveyed that following internal checks, the module will await sunrise at its designated landing site on the lunar surface. The powered descent is scheduled to initiate on August 23, 2023, at approximately 1745 hours IST.

The original timeline had Luna-25 aiming for a gentle touchdown on the lunar surface on August 21, positioning itself just two days ahead of Chandrayaan-3. Both missions were designed to target the region near the Moon’s southern pole.

However, complications arose for the Russian spacecraft on Saturday during its transition into the pre-landing orbit. The Russian space agency Roscosmos reported an “emergency situation” within the spacecraft, leading to the failure of the planned orbit-reduction maneuver. Communication with the spacecraft was also lost. Roscosmos confirmed its efforts to address the issue.

In the wake of these challenges, Roscosmos officially disclosed Luna-25’s crash landing on the Moon’s surface on Sunday afternoon. As the lunar exploration narrative evolves, all eyes now remain fixed on Chandrayaan-3, with expectations that India’s spacecraft could potentially secure the distinction of becoming the first to touch down near the Moon’s southern pole.

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