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Russia’s first moon mission in decades fails as Luna-25 crashes into lunar surface; all eyes on Chandrayaan-3 now

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Russia’s Luna-25 has crashed on the Moon’s surface, the country’s space agency said Sunday, leaving India’s Chandrayaan-3 on course to become the first spacecraft to land near the lunar south pole.

On Sunday morning, Chandrayaan-3 moved into its pre-landing orbit of 25 km x 134 km from the lunar surface, in preparation for its scheduled landing on Wednesday. It is from this orbit that the spacecraft would begin its descent at around 5.45 pm IST on Wednesday. The touchdown is expected to happen after 15 minutes.

Luna-25 was scheduled to make a soft landing on the Moon’s surface on Monday, August 21, two days ahead of Chandrayaan-3. Both of them were supposed to land in the region around the lunar south pole. But the Russian spacecraft developed problems on Saturday as it tried to move into the pre-landing orbit.

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