The first Russian mission to the Moon was launched from the Vostochny Cosmodrome. The Soyuz-2.1b rocket with the Luna-25 interplanetary automatic station was launched into space at 2:10:57 Moscow time. Roscosmos: "Luna-25" took control after separation from the upper stage "Fregat" and put on a trajectory of flight to the Moon. During the next ten days, the Mission Control Center (MCC) will work around the clock, every two hours conducting communication sessions with the station.
The first stage of the rocket separated 1 min. 50 seconds after the beginning of the flight, 3 min. 40 seconds after the head fairing flaps were jettisoned. The second stage of the rocket separated after 4 min. 55 seconds, at the same time the engines of the third stage started.
At 2:21 the engines of the third stage were switched off, at 2:22 the head unit as part of the upper stage "Fregat" was put into a support orbit. According to plans, the station will separate from the upper stage at 03:19, almost an hour and a half after liftoff.
In Roscosmos confirmed that the automatic station was put on the trajectory of flight to the Moon and separated from the upper stage "Fregat". Also "Luna-25" took control after separation from the upper stage "Fregat".
Recall that the station will have to work out the technology of soft landing, take and analyze the lunar soil and conduct other scientific research, including the study of the upper layer of regolith of the surface near the South Pole of the Moon, as well as the lunar exosphere.
"Luna-25" is created from Russian-made elements and using the latest achievements in the field of space instrumentation, emphasize in Roscosmos. The mass of the station is 1.8 tons; the mass of the scientific equipment complex is 31 kg. The period of active work on the Moon is 1 year.
In addition to the robot manipulator for collecting soil samples on the apparatus installed instruments for their study: laser mass analyzer, lunar infrared spectrometer and active detector of neutrons and gamma rays (ADRON-LR). The apparatus is equipped with eight cameras (two installed near the engine, two "watching" the manipulator, four wide-angle panoramic cameras are located at the top).
The ARIES-L panoramic analyzer of ions and neutrals will study the illuminated surface of the Moon and register ions knocked out of it by the solar wind. Solar panels are responsible for powering the station. Finally, the last device, the Scientific Information Control Unit (SICU), is designed to control the operation of scientific equipment, monitor power supply and transmit commands from Earth.
In terms of landing the station is fundamentally different from its predecessors. Soviet lunar stations carried out the moon landing in the equatorial zone, the new station will have to provide a soft landing in the near-polar region with a complex terrain.
The landing platform is a structure consisting of a propulsion system and a landing device that will ensure a soft landing of the vehicle. The platform is also equipped with service radio antennas, surface contact sensors and a Doppler velocity and range meter.
According to Lev Zeleny, scientific director of the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Luna-25 will land at the South Pole of the satellite. The main landing area is located north of Boguslavsky crater, there are also two reserve ones (near Manzini crater and Petland-A crater).
"Landing on the Moon is difficult enough, as with any celestial body without an atmosphere," Green stated. - The atmosphere of Venus and even the rarefied atmosphere of Mars allow the use of a parachute, while on the Moon there is nothing but engines and you have to calculate everything precisely."
According to him, the main criteria for choosing the landing of "Luna-25" are the magnitude of the slope of the site, solar illumination, radio visibility from Earth and the distribution of water ice, the study of the composition of which is one of the main tasks of the station.
"Luna-25" is the first Russian lunar mission as part of the Russian lunar program. The program is expected to first launch a descent vehicle, followed a year later by an orbiter. In the long term, Roscosmos hopes that the lunar program will lead to a habitable station on the Moon.