RUSSIA IS BACK ON THE LUNAR PATH. A ROCKET BLASTS OFF ON ITS FIRST MOON MISSION IN NEARLY 50 YEARS
AppleMagazine|August 18, 2023
A rocket carrying a lunar landing craft blasted off last week (11) on Russia’s first moon mission in nearly 50 years, racing to land on Earth’s satellite ahead of an Indian spacecraft.
RUSSIA IS BACK ON THE LUNAR PATH. A ROCKET BLASTS OFF ON ITS FIRST MOON MISSION IN NEARLY 50 YEARS

The launch from Russia’s Vostochny spaceport in the Far East of the Luna-25 craft to the moon is Russia’s first since 1976 when it was part of the Soviet Union.

The Russian lunar lander is expected to reach the moon on Aug. 23, about the same day as an Indian craft which was launched on July 14. The Russian spacecraft will take about 5.5 days to travel to the moon’s vicinity, then spend three to seven days orbiting at about 100 kilometers (62 miles) before heading for the surface.

Only three governments have managed successful moon landings: the Soviet Union, the United States and China. India and Russia are aiming to be the first to land at the moon’s south pole.

Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency, said it wants to show Russia “is a state capable of delivering a payload to the moon,” and “ensure Russia’s guaranteed access to the moon’s surface.”

“Study of the moon is not the goal,” said Vitaly Egorov, a popular Russian space analyst. “The goal is political competition between two superpowers — China and the USA — and a number of other countries which also want to claim the title of space superpower.”

Sanctions imposed on Russia after it invaded Ukraine make it harder for it to access Western technology, impacting its space program. The Luna-25 was initially meant to carry a small moon rover but that idea was abandoned to reduce the weight of the craft for improved reliability, analysts say.

This story is from the August 18, 2023 edition of AppleMagazine.

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This story is from the August 18, 2023 edition of AppleMagazine.

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