Russia’s Igor Mitrofanov
Credit: ESA–Stephane Corvaja

Russia’s lunar exploration program faces delay, according to Igor Mitrofanov, head of the Department of Nuclear Planetology of the Space Research Institute (IKI) of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The first robotic Moon mission, Luna-25 had been previously postponed to 2023. Now the launches of Luna-26, Luna-27 and Luna-28 may be postponed for up to two years, Mitrofanov told Russia’s TASS news agency.

Luna-25
Credit: NPO Lavochkin

The Luna-26 mission was to be launched in 2024, Luna-27 in 2025, Luna-28 in 2027-2028.

Supply chain issue

“Our main problem today, which has a fundamental impact, is import substitution. Because of this, the dates will be postponed, maybe each mission will be postponed for a year, maybe even for two,” Mitrofanov said.

According to Mitrofanov, supply chain issues of certain components have forced the delay of a string of Luna probes.

Luna-26
Credit: NPO Lavochkin

The suite of Moon probes are part of the Luna-Glob program by Roscosmos.

The Luna-25 spacecraft is a small-sized demonstration landing station for testing basic soft landing technologies in the circumpolar region and conducting contact studies of the south pole of the Moon.

Luna-27
Credit: NPO Lavochkin

Luna-26 is a lunar orbiter designed to carry out remote sensing of the lunar surface.

Luna-27 is intended to be a lander for testing the technology of high-precision and safe touchdown landing in the Moon’s south pole region, including drilling to a depth of 2 meters using a cryogenic deep drilling rig.

Luna-28
Credit: NPO Lavochkin

Luna-28 is designed for delivery back to Earth of lunar soil from the region of the south pole of the Moon.

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