As a gloomy conclusion to its first lunar surface mission, 47 years after the last Soviet Union landing, Russia’s space agency announced on Sunday that its Luna-25 spacecraft had crashed on the Moon. In that case India’s Chandrayaan 3 is likely to be the earliest spacecraft landing near the South Pole of the Moon.
The Chandrayaan-3 Lander Module entered its pre-landing orbit of 25 km x 134 km from the lunar surface on Sunday morning in anticipation of its scheduled landing on Wednesday. The spacecraft is scheduled to come down at 17:45 IST on Wednesday from this orbit. It is expected to be touched down in 15 minutes.
According to the Indian Space Research Organisation, at the beginning of the lunar day, which lasts about 14 days on Earth, Chandrayaan 3 is functioning normally and preparing for its scheduled descent on Wednesday. “Upon landing at the planned moon landing site, the module will undergo an internal inspection and wait for sunrise”. The descent is expected to begin at approximately 1745.45 hours IST on August 23, 2023″, the Indian Space Research Organization said.
“The quest for space exploration in India has reached an unprecedented level with the upcoming Chandrayaan-3 mission, which is expected to reach a soft landing on the moon’s surface.” This achievement shows our country’s progress on space exploration, and it constitutes a major step forward in India’s sciences, engineering, technology and industry,” said ISRO.
It also added that, “The soft landing of Chandrayaan 3 is not only an occasion for curiosity, but also inspires a thirst for exploration in the minds of our youth. When all of us are celebrating India’s scientific and technological excellence, there is a strong sense of pride and unity. This will contribute to the promotion of an environment for Scientific Research and Innovation”.
Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, announced that because of which the orbit reduction maneuver cannot be completed, there had been an emergency situation in the spacecraft. It’s also been disconnected from the spacecraft. It said it’s trying to solve the problem. Roscosmos reported that Luna-25 had collided with the Moon’s surface on Sunday afternoon. On August 21, two days before Chandrayaan 3, the Luna 25 was to perform a soft landing on the lunar surface. They were supposed to land in a region around the southern pole of the Moon. However, as the Russian spacecraft attempted to move into a pre-landing orbit Saturday, it encountered problems.
According to a statement from Roscosmos, “The efforts were made to locate Luna-25 on 19th August (Saturday) and 20th August (Sunday) but the contacts were unsuccessful”. “The provisional analysis revealed that following the collision with the Moon’s surface, due to a deviation of actual impulse parameters from predicted ones, the Automatic Station had been switched off and its orbit terminated,” it added in its statement.
Chandrayaan-2 The first mission of modern Russia to the Moon was Luna 25. The last time the former Soviet Union sent a spacecraft to the Moon was back in 1976, when Luna-24 successfully landed. Actually, it had been the last spacecraft to land on the Moon before China’s Changé 3 arrived in 2013, 37 years later. Since then, the only other spacecraft to land on the Moon have been Chang’e 4 and Chang’e 5, which landed in January 2019 and December 2020 respectively, and Chang’e 5, the sample return mission.