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chief designer of “Luna-25” – on the tasks, capabilities and features of the Russian spacecraft – RT in Russian

The main tasks of the Russian scientific spacecraft “Luna-25” are resource exploration, confirmation of the presence of water and analysis of lunar soil. The developer of spacecraft at NPO named after V.I. S.A. Lavochkin, chief designer of this research station Pavel Kazmerchuk. According to him, Luna-25 will land the first in the history of space exploration in the difficult conditions of the earth’s satellite’s south pole. The device is equipped with scientific equipment, a lunar manipulator complex, means of sampling and soil analysis – in particular, scientists hope to find reserves of water ice in the circumpolar regions of the Moon, Kazmerchuk said.

– Pavel Vladimirovich, tell us about the features of Luna-25, what are the capabilities of this device?

– “Luna-25” is a scientific apparatus. The main customer is the Russian Academy of Sciences. Designed for scientific research in the region of the south pole of the moon. The device will carry out a soft landing in the circumpolar region and conduct various studies.

The main tasks are resource exploration, confirmation of water availability and soil analysis by contact methods. On board the Luna-25 there is a manipulator for soil sampling and instruments for its analysis. After analysis, the data will go to Earth. Thus, we will receive invaluable information about the structure and composition of the moon.

The key moment of the mission is precisely the landing in the circumpolar region. Prior to that, all our vehicles landed in fairly simple, in terms of relief, areas, in the equatorial region. The relief at the South Pole is very difficult, there are many craters and stones. Therefore, the task of soft landing in these areas is very difficult. It will be the first spacecraft to make a soft landing near the moon’s south pole.

– Why was a difficult landing site chosen?

– From the orbit of an artificial satellite of the Earth, according to indirect measurements, it was discovered that it is in the polar regions that there are large reserves of water, water ice. Therefore, scientists chose those points where the potential concentration of water is greatest. Of course, the requirements for communication and illumination are imposed on this. And, of course, the possibilities of a soft landing of our device are limited – we cannot sit on a two-meter stone, for example. This is also taken into account when choosing a landing point.

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    Moon South Pole

  • © NASA / JPL-Caltech

– What research can the apparatus be able to conduct on the Moon?

– A lunar manipulator complex is used for soil sampling. It can not only pick up soil and deliver it to the instrument for analysis, but also go deeper to a depth of 15–20 cm. That is, we can remove the top layer of soil and pick it up not only from the surface, but also going a little deeper.

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Accordingly, the main instrument that performs analysis is a laser spectrum analyzer, a spectrometer. Soil samples in this device will be heated to plasma using laser radiation. Analysis of this plasma will make it possible to draw a conclusion about the quantitative composition of those elements that will be delivered to this device.

“Luna-25, in fact, continues the Soviet tradition. The last spacecraft, Luna-24, was launched onto an Earth satellite back in the days of the Soviet Union. What is the fundamental difference between Luna-25 and its predecessor?

– Its main difference is that it was created using modern technologies. Of course, those vehicles that flew in the last century were large, bulky, heavy. And since space is an expensive pleasure, all the design and development of space technology is aimed at minimizing mass. Therefore, if the old “Luna” used large heavy-class launch vehicles, then for our projects we have already switched to medium-class launch vehicles, which are cheaper. These are Soyuz and Soyuz-2.

And, of course, when designing this apparatus, constructive approaches were used that correspond to the modern technological level. These are lightweight constructions and modern elements.

  • “Luna-25” – Russian scientific spacecraft for research in the region of the south lunar pole

  • RIA Novosti

  • © Valery Melnikov

– What do you think, Luna-25 brings closer the future in which the first Russian man will appear on the Earth’s satellite, the first base of mankind on the Moon will appear? How close are we to this now?

– All technologies are available, they are created. Another question is that it is very expensive. Therefore, the implementation of such expeditions requires investment and, accordingly, time. From the point of view of automatic vehicles, which are engaged in NPO Lavochkin, “Luna-25” – this is the first in a series of expected lunar vehicles. Luna-26, Luna-27, Luna-28 are planned.

The tasks of “Luna-25” are to confirm the presence of water, water ice in the polar regions. Ice, water is the most valuable resource that is on the moon, from the point of view of creating habitable bases in these areas. This is the life support of a person, it is, potentially, energy, fuel.

– Could you tell us more about Luna-26, Luna-27?

Also on the topic

Return to the Moon and open a new window into the Universe: Russian astrophysicist on space projects in 2020-2021

The launch of the Russian automatic interplanetary station “Luna-25” to the south pole of the Earth satellite is scheduled for October 1, 2021. About it…

– “Luna-26” – an orbiter that will conduct research from the orbit of an artificial moon satellite. This is photography, detailed shooting of the surface, exploration of resources, fossils. Also questions of research of the structure, the appearance of the moon

Luna-27 is a lander, like Luna-25, but heavier. The payload mass has been increased several times. It will implement a high-precision and safe landing system. This will allow us to narrow down the areas we choose to plant. For example, Luna-25 has a scattering ellipse, that is, the area where the spacecraft will land with some probability, 30 by 15 km. The high-precision and safe landing system on Luna-27 will allow this area to be narrowed down to one and a half to two kilometers. We will be able to very accurately choose the landing site. Also, this system will allow you to dodge at the final stage of the descent, if suddenly the device sees some dangerous terrain beneath it – for example, large stones or very steep slopes.

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