Russia’s Luna-25 probe enters Moon orbit

MOSCOW-Moscow’s Luna-25 lander was success­fully placed in the Moon’s orbit Wednes­day, the first such Russian mission in al­most 50 years, space agency Roscosmos announced. With the lunar launch, Mos­cow’s first since 1976, Russia is seeking to restart and rebuild on the Soviet Union’s pioneering space programme. “For the first time in Russia’s contemporary his­tory, an automatic station was placed in lunar orbit at 12:03 pm Moscow time (0903 GMT),” a Roscosmos spokesperson told AFP. The probe will orbit 100 kilome­tres (62 miles) above the Moon’s surface, before a planned landing Monday north of the Boguslawsky crater on the lunar south pole. “All the ‘Luna-25’ systems are operating normally, and communication with it is stable,” the spokesperson said. Cameras installed on the lander have al­ready taken distant shots of the Earth and Moon from space. The lander, weighing around 800 kilograms (1,764 pounds), was carried into space by a Soyuz rock­et launched Friday from the Vostochny cosmodrome in Russia’s Far East. It is expected to stay on the Moon for a year, where it is tasked with collecting samples and analysing soil. The mission comes as the future of Russia’s long-running cooperation with the West in space looks in doubt, as Moscow press­es ahead with its offensive in Ukraine. Russia said it would go ahead with its own lunar plans, despite the European Space Agency announcing it would not cooperate with Moscow on future mis­sions over its actions in Ukraine.

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