Credit: NPO Lavochkin

There is progress to report on Russia’s reactivation of Moon exploration.

NPO Lavochkin continues the work on the country’s Luna-25 lunar lander.

On the night of June 13-14, the flight product of the Luna-25 spacecraft was transported from the territory of the enterprise to the branch testing center of the State Corporation (Peresvet, Moscow Region) for conducting complex electrical tests in a vacuum chamber.

Credit: NPO Lavochkin

“These tests are carried out in order to check the functioning of the flight model of the spacecraft in conditions as close as possible to the real conditions of its operation (space vacuum, low and high temperature loads),” NPO Lavochkin reports.

After completion of testing, the spacecraft will be returned to NPO Lavochkin for further work.

Topographic map of the southern sub-polar region of the Moon showing the location of Boguslawsky crater.
Credit: Ivanov et al., 2015 via Arizona State University/LROC

Circumpolar region

“The Luna-25 spacecraft is being created using the latest achievements in the field of space instrumentation. The main task of the mission is to develop basic soft landing technologies, as well as to conduct research in the little-studied circumpolar region of the Moon,” NPO Lavochkin adds.

“The return to the Moon is due to the discovery of ice deposits at the poles, which opens up new opportunities for supporting lunar missions,” the spacecraft production group notes.

Credit: NPO Lavochkin

Launch slips

The Russian robotic Moon lander has repeatedly slipped from last year to May, then August, and may be ready for launch this September.

In addition, Luna-25 became another space causality of the ongoing Russian aggression against Ukraine. The European Space Agency pulled the plug on working with Russia on this mission, and also other Luna-series projects.

Russia’s Luna-25 will test lunar sampling skills.
Credit: NPO Lavochkin/IKI/Roscosmos


Once off the ground and Moon-bound, Luna-25 is slated to touch down north of the Boguslavsky crater. A “reserve area” for the landing craft is southwest of the Manzini crater.

This Russian Moon mission continues the series of the former Soviet Union’s lunar exploration activities that ended back in 1976. Luna-24 successfully delivered about 170 grams of lunar soil to Earth.

The Luna-25 mission will be followed by the Luna-26 orbiter and the Luna-27 landing vehicle, after which it is planned to start deploying a full-fledged scientific station on the Moon in collaboration with China.

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