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Russia to launch first lunar station in nearly 50 years

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Vladivostok: Russia’s first lunar station in nearly 50 years, Luna-25, will fly to the Moon in the early morning of Aug 11, local media reported on Thursday.

According to Russia’s RIA Novosti, the launch date is set for Aug 11 when the Soyuz-2.1b rocket with the Fregat upper stage and the automatic station will lift off from the Vostochny Cosmodrome, located in the Amur Oblast, at 2:10 a.m. Moscow time (2310 GMT on Aug 10).

The previous Russian station, Luna-24, was launched in 1976. Its return capsule brought back about 170 grams of lunar soil to Earth.

Luna-25 does not have a return capsule. It is expected to become the first station in history to land on the south pole of the Moon. The main tasks of the mission are to test the technologies of a soft landing, study the internal structure and explore resources, including water.

After the launch and separation from the rocket, the upper stage will send the automatic station to the trajectory of flight to the Moon. After four-and-a-half days, the station will enter orbit around the Moon and change its orbit several times before landing in the south pole region. The station’s scientific work is expected to last a year.

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