Russia’s Luna-25 crashes into moon while India prepares landing

21 Aug 2023

Image: © Aleksandr/

Roscosmos said over the weekend that the space agency lost all contact with Luna-25 and that the spacecraft had ‘ceased to exist’.

Russia’s first attempt to land on the moon in 47 years has failed as the country’s space agency confirmed it lost contact with the Luna-25 spacecraft on Saturday (19 August).

In a widely reported statement, space agency Roscosmos said that contact was lost at approximately 12:57pm Irish time after Luna-25 ran into difficulties and reported “abnormal situation”.

“The apparatus moved into an unpredictable orbit and ceased to exist as a result of a collision with the surface of the moon,” the statement read.

The first lunar mission Russia has launched since 1976, during the time of the Sovie Union, Luna-25 was launched into space aboard the Soyuz 2.1b rocket from the Vostochny spaceport in the Russian Far East on 11 August.

Luna-25 was an uncrewed mission set to explore the elusive south pole of the moon, where scientists believe there is a possibility of the existence of frozen water. This is because there are parts of the lunar south pole that are perpetually obscured from sunlight.

Russia launched the spacecraft only days after India launched its Chandrayaan-3 mission to explore the same parts of the moon, the country’s third attempt at the difficult endeavour. No country has ever landed on the south pole of the moon.

Even though Russia launched Luna-25 after its Indian counterpart was launched, the spacecraft was expected to make a soft landing on the lunar surface slightly ahead of Chandrayaan-3.

A spokesperson for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) told BBC News that the space agency was disappointed the Russian mission failed. “Every space mission is very risky and highly technical. It’s unfortunate that Luna-25 has crashed,” they said.

While Russia is no longer in the race to land a mission on the southern pole of the moon, all eyes are now on India as Chandrayaan-3 inches closer to the lunar surface. ISRO said that the spacecraft is set to land on the moon on 23 August at around 6pm Indian Standard Time.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic