Without help from the European Space Agency, the Luna-25 craft was launched to the moon on Friday.
Russia has begun its first lunar mission in nearly 50 years, putting it in a competition with India, which also plans to land a lunar ship this month, in the moon’s orbit.
The Luna-25 spacecraft was launched on Friday, marking Russia’s first lunar mission since 1976, when it was a part of the Soviet Union. The European Space Agency was not involved in the mission since it had ceased working with Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.
According to Roscommon’ live feeds, the launch from the Vostochny Cosmo drome in the Far East occurred at 2:10 a.m. Moscow time on Friday (23:10 gmt on Thursday).
The four-legged lander will arrive in lunar orbit in five days and weigh about 800kg (1,750 pounds).
After that, it will take anything from three to seven days to find the ideal location before landing close to the lunar south pole.
For the first time ever, a lunar landing will take place at the lunar south pole. In a recent interview, senior Roscommon official Alexander Blochian stated that up to this point, everyone had been landing in the equatorial zone.
On or about August 23, the lander, which launched on July 14, is anticipated to arrive at the moon’s surface.
The spacecraft from both nations are en route to the lunar south pole, where no spacecraft has ever successfully landed. The only three countries to have completed successful moon landings are the Soviet Union, the United States, and China.
The module will run for a year while “taking and analyzing soil samples and conducting long-term scientific research” on the lunar surface and atmosphere, according to Roscommon.
At the Vostochny Cosmo drome in the Russian Far East, the Soyuz-2.1b rocket carrying the lunar lander Luna-25 automated station is being moved to a launch pad [Roscommon State Space Corporation via AP].
It claimed it wanted to “ensure Russia’s guaranteed access to the moon’s surface” and demonstrate that Russia “is a state capable of delivering a payload to the moon.”
Russia’s space programme is impacted by sanctions put in place against it after it invaded Ukraine and made it more difficult for it to obtain Western technologies. The Luna-25 was designed to carry a small moon rover, but analysts believed the plan was scrapped in order to make the vehicle lighter and more reliable.
According to popular Russian space analyst Vitality Engroove, “Foreign electronics are lighter, while domestic electronics are heavier.” While scientists may be tasked with investigating lunar water, Roscommon’ primary objective is to land on the moon in order to reclaim lost Soviet know-how and adapt this mission to the modern day.
According to journalist Daniel Hawkins, the mission marked Russia’s “significant return to major space missions after quite a long break.”
Speaking from Moscow, Hawkins said to Al Jazeera, “Everyone is well aware of the tremendous Soviet legacy in terms of space launches.”
“The Russian space institute really went into a period of decline after the Soviet Union collapsed and sent the last probe to the moon back in 1976,” he said.
A successful voyage to the Moon would demonstrate to Russia that it is capable of carrying out significant space missions despite its stormy past and the Western sanctions, which have Hawkins claimed that “really impacted Russia’s space development.”
With “equipment that is effectively made in Russia – Russia’s own brand – to compete at an international level,” he said, it will demonstrate its ability to do so.
The most recent Russian space landing operations, in 2016 and 2011, came to a halt.
The purpose is not to study the moon, Engroove declared. The purpose is political rivalry between the USA and China, two superpowers, as well as a number of smaller nations that are vying for the title of space superpower.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s pet project, the spaceport is essential to his attempts to transform Russia into a space superpower and relocate Russian rockets from the Baikonur Cosmo drome in Kazakhstan.
Putin said in a speech last year at the Vostochny Cosmo drome that the Soviet Union had launched the first man into space in 1961 despite the existence of a “total” sanctions regime.
He asserted that despite unprecedented levels of economic sanctions from the West due to the Ukraine war, Russia would advance its lunar plan.
Putin asserts that “we are driven by our ancestors’ desire to advance, despite any obstacles and despite outside attempts to stop us from moving.”
Indian spacecraft smashed into the moon’s surface during an earlier attempt to land at the moon’s south pole in 2019.
Scientists are particularly interested in the lunar south pole because they think water may be present in the continuously shadowed polar craters. Future explorers may be able to create oxygen and rocket fuel from the frozen water in the rocks.
According to Ed Bloomer, an astronomer at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich in the United Kingdom, “the moon is largely untouched, and the entire history of the moon is written on its front. It is spotless and unmatched by anything on Earth. It functions as its own lab.
The Luna-25 will collect lunar rock and dust samples. Before constructing any base on the moon, it is essential to understand its climate, according to Bloomer. In the event that this does not occur, “we could be building things six months later having to shut them down since everything has practically been sandblasted.