Russia’s space agency: Luna 25 lunar probe crashed as engine failed to turn off in time

Director of Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency, Yuri Borisov has announced that Luna 25, a lunar lander spacecraft, crashed on 20 August because its engine failed to turn off in time ahead of reaching the landing orbit, RIA Novosti quotes him as saying.

“It stayed on for 127 seconds instead of 84, which caused the accident. <…> The main reason is a correction engine malfunction. We will get to the bottom of what caused it,” Borisov said.

The official assured reporters that a crash commission had already been convened. Its findings will be used when planning future missions.

The Roscosmos director stressed that the lunar programme cannot be abandoned “in any case”: “the negative experience of halting the lunar mission by almost 50 years is the key reason behind our failure”. “We essentially have to get reacquainted with all the technologies,” Borisov said.

Luna 25 crashed into the Moon surface on 20 August. Roscosmos lost contact with the spacecraft earlier.

The Moon probe was launched on 11 August. It was scheduled to arrive at the south pole of Earth’s satellite on 21 August. The mission planned to have the station carry out a soft landing and conduct contact research of the Moon ground.

Luna 25 was presented as the first Russian Moon project in almost 50 years.

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