A Russian robotic spacecraft that was headed to the lunar surface has crashed into the moon, Russia’s space agency said on Sunday, citing the results of a preliminary investigation a day after it lost contact with the vehicle.
It is the latest setback in spaceflight for a country that during the Cold War became the first nation, as the Soviet Union, to put a satellite, a man and then a woman in orbit.
The Luna-25 lander, Russia’s first space launch to the moon’s surface since the 1970s, entered lunar orbit last Wednesday and was supposed to land as early as Monday. At 2:10 p.m. on Saturday afternoon Moscow time, according to Roscosmos, the state corporation that oversees Russias space activities, the spacecraft fired its engine to enter an orbit that would set it up for a lunar landing. But an unexplained “emergency situation” occurred.
On Sunday, Roscosmos said that it had lost contact with the spacecraft 47 minutes after the start of the engine firing. Attempts to re-establish communications failed, and Luna-25 had deviated from its planned orbit and “ceased its existence as a result of a collision with the lunar surface,” Roscosmos said….