A Soyuz-2.1b rocket carrying the Luna-25 research station was successfully launched from the Vostochny cosmodrome. The anticipated landing on the Moon is scheduled for August 21.
The significance of “Luna-25” lies in its role as the pioneering station to touch down within the South Pole region of Earth’s satellite. This mission by Russian scientists is designed to investigate potential water reservoirs.
This landmark achievement distinguishes Luna-25 as the foremost station in global history to achieve a gentle touchdown within the challenging terrains of the near-polar zone; all preceding missions have historically targeted equatorial zones. A video by Roskosmos outlines the mission’s flight plan.
Approximately 9 minutes post-launch, the Fregat upper stage, housing the station, will detach from the rocket’s third stage. Through two main engine ignitions, it will initiate the first stage of propulsion, charting a trajectory toward the Moon.
The subsequent stage entails an approximately 5-day journey to the Moon itself, accompanied by trajectory adjustments: the first correction transpiring 1.5 days post-launch, succeeded by a second correction on the eve of lunar orbit insertion.
Progressing to the third stage, the station’s deceleration will commence through its propulsion system. This phase encompasses a 3-day flight encircling the Moon within a circular circumpolar orbit at an altitude of 100 km.
The fourth stage entails Luna-25 transitioning into an elliptical landing orbit, attaining a minimum altitude of 18 km. Following meticulous calculations, a controlled soft landing is targeted within the South Pole vicinity of the Moon. According to a scientist from the Russian Academy of Sciences, this milestone is projected to take place around August 21.