An image taken from the cameras aboard the Luna-25 station during its journey to the Moon. Photo: Roscosmos
The blame for the setback experienced by the Russian space endeavor, Luna-25, seems to rest more on the shoulders of officials within the Roscosmos organization rather than the scientific community, as suggested by space enthusiast Vitaly Egorov. In an interview with The Insider, the expert highlighted that the loss of the station—crashing during its attempted lunar landing—is emblematic of the broader challenges faced by Russian space exploration.
Egorov contends that something went awry in the execution of Luna-25, yet the Roscosmos officials chose not to deviate from the flight schedule due to concerns of being overshadowed by India, who had dispatched their own Chandrayaan-3 station to the Moon. According to the expert, this situation recalls instances in the past when Soviet spacecraft were sent into space in an “unfinished” state in an attempt to outpace rival competitors.
“The Luna-25 mission could have fulfilled a scientific program, enriched humanity with new insights about the surrounding cosmos, and opened new possibilities for Russian science and international cooperation. However, all these prospects were dashed by the Russian state, which placed its bets not on space exploration but on the expansion of territories belonging to neighboring sovereign states.”
According to Egorov's perspective, the failure that befell the mission raises doubts about the future of the Luna-26 and Luna-27 programs, which could now be postponed or even halted altogether.
Luna-25 marks Russia's first lunar mission in modern history. According to the plan, the Russian station launched on August 11 was supposed to become the first spacecraft to achieve a soft landing near the Moon's South Pole, an area with complex terrain. All previous lunar missions had landed around the equator. One of the mission's primary objectives was to search for water on the Earth's satellite.
On August 16, RIA Novosti reported, citing a source, that Luna-25 had surpassed the Indian station Chandrayaan-3 and was positioned 50 km closer to the Moon. On August 19, Roscosmos stated that an “abnormal situation” occurred during Luna-25's transition to its pre-landing orbit. The following day, the space agency acknowledged the loss of communication with the spacecraft and that it had likely crashed upon colliding with the lunar surface.
Chandrayaan-3 was launched in mid-July. The lander with the rover has already detached from the transfer module, and the Moon landing is expected on August 23.