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Russia to Launch the First Lunar Mission in 50 Years

Russian Luna-25 Moon Lander
Russia’s new lunar mission is about to take off as the country is eagerly preparing to launch Luna-25, an automatic interplanetary station. Credit: NPO Lavochkina

Russia’s new lunar mission is about to take off as the country is eagerly preparing to launch Luna-25, an automatic interplanetary station. The first launch of the last fifty years is scheduled for August 11th from the Vostochny Cosmodrome.

Goals of Russia’s Lunar Mission

The Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences has identified the main tasks of this Russian lunar mission. These include the search for water and volatile compounds and the construction of a surface map. Roscosmos says the station will use soft landing technology, collect and analyze soil, and conduct long-term scientific research.

The state corporation emphasized that the station was developed with a completely Russian element base. A significant distinction from previous stations is its soft landing in the lunar south pole region, contrasting with Soviet lunar stations. Those used to land in the equatorial zone with less complex terrain.

As Roscosmos declared, the flight will take from 4.5 to 5.5 days according to a scheduled program. During the flight, two corrections will be made. After the deceleration pulse, the spacecraft will enter a one hundred kilometer high circumpolar orbit, where it will operate from three to seven days.

Speaking about the problems of the station, Pavel Kazmerchuk, the chief designer of Russia’s lunar mission project, singled out its heavy mass. The weight of the module is about eight hundred kilometers.

This Russian Lunar Mission will be the first of the country’s planned launches. The long-term goal is to establish a Russian scientific station on the Moon.


The Khabarovsk region is actively preparing for Russia’s lunar mission due to the possible fall of the rocket stages. Local authorities will evacuate the inhabitants of one of the villages of this Far East region.

The estuaries of five rivers are located in the proposed fall zone.

Confrontation with the West

The European Space Agency (ESA) has said it will not cooperate with Moscow regarding the upcoming launch of Luna 25 or future missions 26 and 27.

Putin has previously said that Yuri Gagarin’s first space flight in 1961 took place under the conditions of complete Soviet Union isolation. He also noted that Russia would continue creating technologies for nuclear and space energy.

The TASS news agency said that with the current lunar mission of Russia, the country is not “just returning to the moon, but is taking a step towards staying there for a long time.”

The automatic interplanetary station Luna-25 relies on Soviet developments pertaining to the exploration of Earth’s natural satellite. Earlier, in 1976, the Luna-24 station delivered 170 grams of lunar soil to Earth.

Russian-Chinese cooperation

The launch is the first mission of Moscow’s new lunar project. It comes at a time when President Vladimir Putin is looking to step up space cooperation with China after ties with the West were severed following Russia’s Ukraine invasion.

Countries are building up partnerships not only in the space sector. In 2022, a new cross-border bridge opened between Russia and China in order to increase trade. In addition, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that China could supply Russia with weapons and uniforms for the war with Ukraine.

NATO space plans

Earlier, it became known that NASA and DARPA are collaborating on the DRACO mission, planning to launch the world’s first nuclear-powered spacecraft into orbit by 2025.

The parties are seeking to test a new rocket propulsion system that could shorten a trip to Mars by up to forty-five days at a cost of $499 million.

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