Rogozin: Russia’s first lunar lander in decades to launch by end of September

The landing area for Luna-25

The new colonial movement: Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russia’s Roscosmos space corporation, revealed yesterday that it is now targeting the end of September for the launch of Luna-25, the first Russian lunar lander to the Moon since Luna-24 in 1976.

The Russians hope to land the rover near 60-mile-wide Boguslawsky crater, located about 550 miles from the Moon’s south pole. The map to the right, figure 1 from a 2018 paper, provides the reasoning for picking this location.

The Luna–Glob mission [the title for the entire Russian program of future lunar probes] is designed for investigations in the polar regions of the Moon and targeted primarily on testing a new generation of technologies for landing a descent module. In this regard, the choice of scientific tasks of this mission is rather subordinate. Further realization of our lunar program, inclusive of the Luna–Resource mission with an extended complex of scientific tasks, and subsequently, a new generation of lunar rovers and modules for lunar subsurface sampling and return to the Earth, depends on the results of the present mission [Luna-25]. …The detailed photo geological analysis of the surface in the Luna–Glob mission landing sector (70°–85° S, 0°–60° E) using high-resolution images and topographic data made it possible to select the definite landing site. This site (the eastern landing ellipse, 73.9° S, 43.9° E) on the Boguslawsky floor represents a higher scientific priority and also provides relatively safe landing conditions.

The Russians have been attempting to launch this Luna-Glob program for almost a quarter of a century. Hopefully the first launch will finally happen this year.

Russian lunar mission delayed again

The Russian Luna-Glob has been delayed again, partly due to embargoes imposed by the Ukraine war, and partly due to a lack of money.

The article notes that Russia’s participation in the European ExoMars project has left little resources for this lunar mission, causing delays. It also notes the possibility that the second mission in ExoMars, scheduled for 2018, might be delayed as well. (The first ExoMars mission is scheduled to launch next year.)

All-in-all, this story indicates to me that the Russians continue to have serious underlying financial and management problems throughout their society. Having lost faith in capitalism, after 20 years of not really doing it right, they have returned to a soviet-style big government top-down approach. I doubt it will solve their problems.