Russia’s Luna-25 lander is set to reach lunar orbit on Wednesday, in Russia’s first such mission in nearly 50 years, according to Russia’s space agency Roscosmos.
With the moon launch, the first in Moscow since 1976, Russia hopes to provide renewed impetus to its space industry, which has been struggling for years and is increasingly isolated amid the war in Ukraine.
The lander is scheduled to orbit about 100 kilometers above the lunar surface before Monday’s planned landing north of the Boguslavsky Crater on the moon’s south pole.
Roscosmos said that the cameras installed on the probe have already taken distant pictures of the Earth and the Moon from space.
The probe, which weighs about 800 kilograms, was carried into space by a Soyuz rocket launched on Friday from the Vostochny cosmodrome in Russia’s Far East.
He is scheduled to remain on the lunar surface for a year, tasked with collecting samples and analyzing soil.
The mission comes as the future of Russia’s long-standing cooperation with the West in space exploration appears in doubt, as Moscow continues its war against Ukraine.
Russia has said it will go ahead with its plans for lunar exploration, despite the European Space Agency (ESA) saying it will not cooperate with Moscow on future missions over its conquest.
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