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Russian space agency says Luna-25 spacecraft crashed into moon

Russia and India have been competing to become the first nations to land on the moon's south pole.

Published: August 20, 2023 7:30am

Updated: August 20, 2023 11:50am

Russia's Luna-25 spacecraft spun into an uncontrollable orbit and crashed into the moon, the Kremlin's space agency Roscosmos said Sunday.

"The apparatus moved into an unpredictable orbit and ceased to exist as a result of a collision with the surface of the moon," Roscosmos said, according to The Associated Press.

The spacecraft reported an "abnormal situation" when it encountered issues as it prepared for its pre-landing orbit. Roscosmos said it then lost contact with the spacecraft on Saturday.

"During the operation, an abnormal situation occurred on board the automatic station, which did not allow the maneuver to be performed with the specified parameters," the space agency also said.

The spacecraft was scheduled to land Monday on the moon's south pole. It was trying to race to the moon ahead of an Indian spacecraft that was launched July 14 and expected to reach the body by Aug. 23.

Russia launched its first lunar mission in nearly 50 years on Aug. 10 with Luna-25.

Only China, the United States and the Soviet Union have successfully landed on the moon, but none of them have managed to land on the moon's south pole. Russia and India have been competing to become the first nation to land there. 

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