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IPFS News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

Russia to launch first moon lander since 1976 in race with Indian spacecraft

• By Mark Trevelyan and Lidia Kelly

The launch from the Vostochny cosmodrome, 3,450 miles (5,550 km) east of Moscow, will take place four weeks after India sent up its Chandrayaan-3 lunar lander, due to touch down at the pole on Aug. 23.

Rough terrain makes a landing there difficult, but the south pole is a prized destination because scientists believe it may hold significant quantities of ice that could be used to extract fuel and oxygen, as well as for drinking water.

Russian space agency Roscosmos said in reply to questions from Reuters that its Luna-25 spacecraft would take five days to fly to the moon and then spend five to seven days in lunar orbit before descending on one of three possible landing sites near the pole - a timetable that implies it could match or narrowly beat its Indian rival to the moon's surface.


Roscosmos said the two missions would not get in each other's way because they have different landing areas planned.

"There is no danger that they interfere with each other or collide. There is enough space for everyone on the moon," it said.