Russia announces preliminary probe results into the cause of the crash of “Luna-25”

Russia’s Luna-25 Moon Lander was supposed to land at the south pole of the moon as early as Monday, August 21. However, it crashed into the moon after an orbital manoeuvre went wrong on August 19. This report is coming from Russia’s Roscosmos space agency. The Luna-25 lander was Russia’s first space launch to the moon’s surface since the 1970s. It was aiming to be the first mission to reach the moon’s south polar region. The loss of Luna-25 is a blow to Roscosmos, and a special commission has been formed to probe the reasons for the failure.

Preliminary Probe Results

Russia’s space agency Roscosmos said on October 3, 2023, that the dramatic crash of its Luna-25 Moon lander last month was likely caused by an error in propulsion. A preliminary analysis suggests that the wayward orbital manoeuvre sent Luna-25 into an unexpected trajectory. This is one in which the moon lander “ceased to exist as a result of a collision with the lunar surface,” Roscosmos wrote.

Roscosmos also said that the most likely reason for the crash of Luna-25 was that a large number of instructions were sent at the same time. This caused the accelerometer of one of the angular velocity measurement units to fail to turn on. It ultimately triggered an abnormal operation of the airborne integrated control system.

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Simply put, these command data should have different priority settings. This way, the device can execute a certain item first. The distribution of different priority instructions has a certain degree of randomness. However, the accelerometer of Lunar-25 failed to send a signal. The control system cannot shut down the propulsion system in time when the detector reaches the predetermined speed. Instead, it shuts down the thruster after it has run for a specified time.

Image Credit: NBC News

Roscosmos reported that the Luna-25 engine ignited and ran for 127 seconds instead of the planned 84 seconds. This ultimately caused it to enter an Unplanned orbit and collision with the moon.


The loss of Luna-25 is a setback for Russia’s space program. It also highlights the risks and challenges of space exploration. The preliminary probe results suggest that an error in propulsion caused the crash. However, further probe shows that too many data were sent to the system at the same time. The agency will continue to probe the issue as this is only a preliminary result. Despite this setback, Russia remains committed to space exploration, and it plans to land three next-generation Luna spacecraft on the moon by 2025.

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