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Russia’s sample mission to Moon scheduled for 2026-2027

Second part of Russia’s lunar program, which envisages manned missions, is also being fulfilled

MOSCOW, October 8. /TASS/. Russia’s Luna-28 mission to deliver samples of the Moon soil to the Earth is tentatively scheduled for launch in 2026-2027, the director of the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), Lev Zeleny, told TASS.

"The Luna-28 and Luna-29 spacecraft are included into the next federal space program, these two projects are expected to be held before the 2029-2030. Luna-28 will bring lunar soil, Luna-29 will deliver a rover with various degrees of maneuverability and abilities to research geological samples on site," Zeleny said. "The launch of the Luna-28 mission is planned in 2026-2027."

He did not say when the Luna-29 mission may take place, because the work on rovers has only begun.

"We plan to cooperate on that with the Germany-based institute of robotics, negotiations are now under way. These rovers are expected to operate in two modes - control from the Earth and automated mode," the scientist said.

The current federal space program for 2016-2025 lists three lunar missions - two landings and one orbital flight. The first of them, Luna-25, is to be launched in 2021.

"Regretfully, for various financial and organizational reasons, the upcoming missions - Luna-26 and Luna-27, are being postponed to a later date, closer to the end of the current schedule. That said, the launch of Luna-26 is due in 2023-2024, and of Luna-27 - in 2024-2025, although we are still trying to reschedule Luna-27 for 2023-2024. Those missions were postponed, because Luna-25 was rescheduled from 2019 to 2021," Zeleny said.

He said the second part of Russia’s lunar program, which envisages manned missions, is also being fulfilled.

"But this is not our zone of responsibility, and I’m not authorized to speak about the timeframe," the Russian scientist added.

According to him, Russia’s program of Moon exploration is currently being agreed by relevant ministries and agencies.