MOSCOW, October 10. /TASS/. The launch of the first one of Russia’s three upcoming lunar missions, Luna-25, may be delayed for another year, according to a presentation unveiled by Maxim Litvak of the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
According to his speech, made during the Tenth Moscow international Solar System Symposium, the Russia’s current Federal Space Program (2016-2025) envisages the launch of three lunar missions - Luna-25 in 2021-2022, Luna-26 in 2023-2024 and Luna-27 in 2024-2025.
Luna-25 was initially scheduled for 2019, but the launch was postponed until 2021. Now, according to the presentation, the mission can be postponed by another year and take place in 2022.
The next missions, Luna-28 and Luna-29 will be included into the next Federal Space Program and launched after 2025.
According to Litvak, Russian scientists suggested using a mini rover weighting less than 100 kg to collect samples during the Luna-28 mission.
The present program envisages collecting lunar soil with the help of a special device on board the descent module. Until now, no reports of using a rover in this mission were ever made.
According to the presentation, the rover would weigh between 30 and 100 kg, including the scientific payload of 20 kg, and have a robotic arm. its maximum speed will be less than 3 kmph, and maximum distance for one journey - 30 km.
The rover will collect lunar soil samples and deliver them to the landing module, take photographs of the landing site and carry out geological research. It is supposed to carry infrared, laser and neutron spectrometers, a drill, a radiation sensor, a dust analyzer and a radar.
The rover is expected to work for one year, with "hibernation" periods during lunar nights. The communication with it will be maintained through an orbital station.
According to Maxim Mitrofanov, who heads the Nuclear Planetology Department of the Space Research Institute, the Luna-28 mission is expected to bring between 2 and 4 kilograms of moon soil samples to the Earth.
The director of the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), Lev Zeleny, earlier told TASS that Luna-25 is to be launched in 2021, Luna-26 - in 2023-2024, Luna-27 - in 2024-2025. Russia’s Luna-28 mission to deliver samples of the Moon soil to the Earth is tentatively scheduled for launch in 2026-2027 and the Luna-29 mission to "deliver a rover with various degrees of maneuverability and abilities to research geological samples on site" is due before 2030.