Russia’s lunar lander began processing data Sunday as it made its way towards the Moon in search of ice on the Earth’s only natural satellite.
Russia's national space agency, Roscosmos, issued a statement saying the Luna-25 spacecraft’s scientific instruments were turned on and shared details about its operations.
It said all systems on the spacecraft are functioning normally.
Luna-25 was launched on Aug. 11 from the Vostochny Cosmodrome, located around 3,400 miles (5,500 kilometers) from Moscow, using a Soyuz-2.1b rocket.
It will conduct research on the Moon’s south pole for approximately one year, aiming to search for water sources as well as studying space rays and electromagnetic emissions on the lunar surface.
Luna-25 is expected to land on the Moon on Aug. 21, Roscosmos Director General Yury Borisov said Friday, according to the Russian state-run news agency TASS.
The lunar mission, the first since 1976, is competing with India, which launched its Chandrayaan-3 lunar lander in July.