Russia’s Luna-25 spacecraft adjusted its orbit on Friday as it prepared to attempt the first landing near the south pole of the moon, space agency Roscosmos said.
“Today at 09:20 Moscow time (11:50 am IST), the propulsion system of the automatic station performed an orbit correction lasting 40 seconds. Its goal is to provide the best conditions for the subsequent construction of a pre-landing orbit,” Roscosmos said in a statement.
It said the adjustment went smoothly and the spacecraft’s onboard systems and communications were all functioning normally. The space agency also released an image of moon shared by Luna-25 on August 17.
Russian space chief Yuri Borisov said last week that Luna-25 aimed to land on August 21.
An Indian spacecraft, Chandrayaan-3, is also orbiting the moon in readiness for a landing near the south pole, where scientists believe there are significant quantities of frozen water that could support a human presence there in the future.
Much is riding on the success of Russia’s first lunar mission in 47 years, with Moscow attempting to prove that it is still a leader in space exploration despite the huge costs of the war in Ukraine and Western sanctions aimed at curbing its access to technology.
Luna-25 was launched from the Ruusia’s Vostochny spaceport on August 11, 2023 aboard Soyuz 2.1v rocket. The lander is expected to touch down on the moon on August 21. On the other hand, ISRO’s Chandrayaan-3 was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, on board the LVM-3 rocket. The lander is expecting its touchdown on lunar surface on August 23.