21 Aug 2023 20:00

Commission probing Luna 25 crash to present results shortly - Roscosmos head

MOSCOW. Aug 21 (Interfax) - Roscosmos head Yury Borisov has blamed a malfunction of the approach-correcting engine for the Luna 25 lunar lander's crash, adding that a special commission will establish the accident's cause in the near future.

"All stages of the flight were thoroughly documented. I have named the main reason - that is the abnormal operation of the approach-correcting engine. A detailed inquiry will be conducted into what led to it," Borisov said in an interview with the Rossiya-24 (VGTRK) television channel on Monday.

"I am convinced that we will receive all necessary information during the emergency commission's work. It has already been appointed and has started to work. I think that we will receive the required result in the near future and will certainly take it into account as we pursue the next missions," he said.

The errors of the Luna 25 mission will be fixed during preparations for the launch of the next lunar landers, Borisov said.

"Of course, such uncompleted missions have a very painful impact on developers' teams, above all," he said.

However, there were unsuccessful lunar missions back in Soviet times as well, he said.

"The entire historical experience of conducting such challenging scientific experiments has been accompanied by multiple failures. There were more than ten failed missions between 1958, when the Soviet Union started to seriously pursue the lunar program, and the first successful soft landing in 1966," Borisov said.

"In any case, we had not worked on the lunar program for about 50 years. The invaluable experience accumulated by our predecessors in the 1960s-70s was almost lost. The change of generations was interrupted. One of the achievements, despite the incomplete mission, is the formation of a new team at NPO Lavochkin that will certainly take into account all errors made during this mission [Luna 25]. I hope that the future missions - Luna 26, Luna 27 and Luna 28 - will be successful," Borisov said.

The Luna 25 lunar lander ceased to exist after it crashed into the Moon's surface, Roscosmos said on August 20.

The first lunar mission in Russia's post-Soviet space history blasted off aboard the Soyuz-2.1b launch vehicle equipped with a Fregat upper stage from the Vostochny Cosmodrome on August 11.

The spacecraft's soft landing on the Moon's South Pole was supposed to take place on August 21, Borisov said.

Luna 25 is part of Russia's lunar program, and the first Russian lunar mission pursued by NPO Lavochkin to explore and make practical use of the Moon and circumlunar space using landing craft.