“Roscosmos” Identifies Cause of Luna-25 Crash – Anomalies in Orbit Correction Engine
The General Director of Roscosmos, Yuri Borisov, revealed in an interview with the “Russia-24” television channel that anomalies occurred in the engines of the “Luna-25” lunar station during orbit correction maneuvers. Borisov explained that during the station’s attempt to transition to its final landing orbit, its engine operated for about 1.5 times longer than intended. As a result, the spacecraft collided with the lunar surface on August 19th.
Borisov stated, “The entire experiment was conducted within the range of stable radio communication, and we had knowledge about the spacecraft’s position. At 14:57, communication with the spacecraft was lost, and attempts to reestablish communication were unsuccessful. Preliminary calculations indicated that due to the abnormal operation of the correction engine, the spacecraft transitioned to an open lunar orbit and essentially crashed into the lunar surface.”
The head of Roscosmos explained that the engines were activated at 14:10 to adjust the lunar station’s orbit for landing. However, the engine shut off not according to the planned schedule but based on a time cutoff, causing it to operate for 127 seconds instead of the intended 84 seconds. Borisov identified this as the primary reason for the incident. He noted that the orbit correction procedure had been previously simulated on the ground.
Borisov emphasized that all stages of the flight were meticulously documented, and the primary cause of the mishap was the abnormal operation of the correction engine. He added that a thorough investigation was necessary to understand the factors that led to the engine’s anomaly, and an emergency commission had already been formed and commenced its work.
In Borisov’s view, the invaluable experience gained from lunar landings in the 1960s and 1970s has been largely lost due to the lack of continuity between generations. Despite this setback, he stressed the importance of continuing and even accelerating the lunar program, especially considering the existing competencies. Borisov expressed optimism that lessons learned from this mission would be applied in the successful execution of future lunar missions such as “Luna-26,” “Luna-27,” and “Luna-28.”
The Luna-25 lunar station, the first Russian lunar station in nearly 50 years, was developed by the S.A. Lavochkin Scientific Production Association. Launched on August 11th aboard the “Soyuz 2.1b” carrier rocket with the “Fregat” upper stage, Luna-25 undertook two trajectory corrections during its flight. On August 16th, it reached an orbit around the Moon at an altitude of approximately 100 km.
Throughout its journey, Luna-25 transmitted data from its scientific instruments and captured several images, including a photograph of the Zeeman crater on the Moon’s southern pole. The mission aimed to land to the north of the Boguslavsky crater on the Moon’s visible side on August 21st, with plans to study the lunar soil for the presence of ice.
- I'm Vasyl Kolomiiets, a seasoned tech journalist regularly contributing to global publications. Having a profound background in information technologies, I seamlessly blended my technical expertise with my passion for writing, venturing into technology journalism. I've covered a wide range of topics including cutting-edge developments and their impacts on society, contributing to leading tech platforms.
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