Russia is set to launch its first lunar landing spacecraft, Luna-25 after 47 years on Friday i.e. on 11 August. This mission comes as landing date for India’s Chandrayaan-3 approaches. The timeline of their landing on the Moon’s surface could match or could even narrowly beat Chandrayaan-3.
The Russian space agency, Roscosmos, is all set to launch its moon mission Luna 25 for the lunar south pole in the early hours of Friday, reviving Soviet Union-era lunar exploration.
This comes just four weeks after India launched its own lunar lander, Chandrayaan-3, which is scheduled to make a soft touch down at the Moon’s south pole on August 23.
When will Russia’s Luna-25 land on the Moon?
The launch from the Russia’s spaceport, Vostochny cosmodrome, 3,450 miles (5,550 km) east of Moscow is set to take four weeks after India sent up its Chandrayaan-3 lunar lander which is due to touch down at the pole on 23 August.
The Russian space agency Roscosmos has told Reuters that its Luna-25 spacecraft would take five days to fly to the moon and then spend five to seven days in lunar orbit before descending on one of three possible landing sites near the pole.
Who will land faster on the moon, Luna-25 or Chandrayaan-3?
Earlier on 8 August, ISRO chairman S Somanath said that Vikram, the lander of India’s third lunar mission Chandrayaan-3, will be able to make a soft-landing on the Moon’s surface on August 23 even if all the sensors and two of its engines do not work. During a talk on ‘Chandrayaan-3: Bharat’s Pride Space Mission’ which was hosted by the non-profit organisation, he said, “ The entire design of the lander ‘Vikram’ has been made in a manner that makes sure that it would be able to handle failures,” as quoted by PTI.
The Indian Space Research Organisation0 (ISRO) on Sunday said the GSLV Mark 3 (LVM 3) heavy-lift launch vehicle, which lifted off successfully with the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft, underwent a planned orbit reduction manoeuvre, bringing it closer to the moon.
Roscosmos stated that its Luna 25 spacecraft will take about five days to travel to the Moon. It will then spend around five to seven days in lunar orbit before descending to one of three potential landing sites near the pole, reported Reuters.
This timeline indicates that Russia’s mission could reach the lunar surface around the same time as or shortly before the Indian mission.
Roscosmos, however, assured that the two missions won’t interfere with each other, as they have separate landing areas planned. The Russian Space Agency stated, “There is no danger that they interfere with each other or collide. There is enough space for everyone on the moon,” Reuters added.
Main distinctions between Luna-25 and Chandrayaan-3 missions
The Luna 25 mission aims to study the composition of the lunar polar regolith (surface material) and the plasma and dust components of the lunar polar exosphere, according to the United States space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Chandrayaan-3 aims to demonstrate a safe and soft landing on the lunar surface, rover mobility, and in-situ scientific experiments, said Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
Structure of the lander
Luna 25’s lander features a four-legged base housing landing rockets and propellant tanks. An upper compartment contains solar panels, communication equipment, onboard computers, and scientific instruments.
Chandrayaan-3 consists of an indigenous lander module (LM), a propulsion module (PM), and a rover. The rover is equipped with scientific payloads for chemical analysis of the lunar surface.
Luna 25 carries eight science instruments, including gamma-ray and neutron spectrometers, infrared spectrometers, mass spectrometers, and imaging systems.
The Chandrayaan-3 lander carries payloads like Chandra’s Surface Thermophysical Experiment (ChaSTE) and Langmuir Probe (LP), while the rover carries instruments like Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) and Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS).
Site of landing
The primary landing site for Luna 25 is near the lunar south pole, with a reserve site located southwest of the Manzini crater.