Russia’s first moon mission in 50 years has ended in a catastrophic failure as it’s robot spacecraft spun out of control and crashed.
The 800kg Luna-25 probe was smashed to pieces as it plunged from orbit onto the surface – in a fresh humiliation for Vladimir Putin.
It comes at a time when Russia has been rendered a pariah state over Vlad’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Russian Space Agency lost contact a day ago and reported an “abnormal situation” with the robot ship.
The craft “switched to an off-design orbit and ceased to exist as a result of a collision with the lunar surface,” said the agency, Roscosmos.
Russia had hoped that the robot would spend a year collecting samples of rock and dust.
The craft was due to land on the lunar surface Monday.
Failure of the mission personally ordered by Putin underscores the decline of Russia’s space power since the glory days of Cold War.
Moscow was the first to launch a satellite to orbit the Earth – Sputnik 1, in 1957.
And trailblazing Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man to travel into space in 1961.
Luna-25 is reported to have cost “tens of billions of rubles” – which equates to tens of millions of pounds.
Russian sources are already blaming endemic corruption inside the agency for the failure of the mission.
Putin is expected to axe top space officials over the disaster.
The mission had been due to investigate the moon’s south pole in a pioneering mission.
When the craft was launched a remote village had to be evacuated amid fears debris would fall on it.
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