(LONDON) — An uncrewed Russian spacecraft spun out of control during orbit and crashed into the moon, according to the country’s space agency.
The Luna-25 craft lost contact with officials in Russia following an “abnormal situation” and crashed on Saturday, Roscosmos said in a statement to Interfax, a Russian news agency.
Moscow’s lunar lander had been launched on a rocket earlier this month from the Vostochny Cosmodrome, according to the agency, which published photos of the launch. It had been expected to enter lunar orbit last week, marking the first time since 1976 that a Russian-made spacecraft would approach the moon.
The craft on Saturday afternoon entered an elliptical orbit in anticipation of landing on the moon’s surface, which had been part of the flight plan, Roscosmos said.
Agency staff in Russia lost contact during or after that planned maneuver at about 2:57 p.m. Moscow time, they told Interfax, saying the details were part of a preliminary analysis.
Shortly after their last contact the “spacecraft entered an unplanned orbit and ceased to exist after colliding with the surface of the Moon,” Roscosmos said in a statement.
“Measures to find the spacecraft and make contact with it taken on August 19 and 20 yielded no results,” the agency said.
The lunar lander had been expected to attempt a landing near the moon’s south pole early this week, Russian media reported.
ABC News’ Tanya Stukalova contributed to this story.
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