After 44 years, Russia resumes lunar exploration program

by Kelvin
After 44 years, Russia resumes lunar exploration program

Between 1959 and 1976, the Soviet Luna mission sent 14 unmanned probes to our satellite – the last being Luna-24. Now, Russia will pick up where it left off, in partnership with the European Space Agency/ESA, with Luna-25, to be launched in October 2021 (two years late).

The probe, a landing module, will fly with nine instruments on board: eight Russian and one developed by ESA, the Pilot-D, a navigation system with a camera, specially developed for the descent into Boguslavsky crater.

  

Russian instruments will explore the lunar soil and collect samples to determine the composition, structure and physical-mechanical properties of the regolith, dust and plasma exosphere around the satellite’s south pole. A landing in the region will be unprecedented in the history of lunar exploration – the region is considered a good location for future bases.

a busy decade

Five missions are planned:

Luna-25

Two-week mission. When approaching the surface of the Moon, you should photograph the surface with Pilot-D. The data collected will be used to fine-tune the landing accuracy of future ESA-developed missions.

Luna-26

Its launch is scheduled for 2023. It will be an orbiter, sent to the Moon to make remote scientific measurements and also function as a communication station for the following missions that descend to the surface of the satellite, in addition to transmitting data to the space monitoring stations in the land.

Luna-27

It should be launched in 2024. The images taken by Pilot-D will be used to accurately guide the probe near the south pole. The main objective of the mission will be to study the composition of the soil and look for frozen water, on the surface or below it.

Luna-28

Probe that will return to Earth with soil samples.

Luna-29

Rover for exploration of lunar terrain.