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    A Failed Lunar Mission Dents Russian Pride and Reflects Deeper Problems with Moscow’s Space Industry

    A Failed Lunar Mission Dents Russian Pride and Reflects Deeper Problems with Moscow's Space Industry

    An ambitious but failed attempt by to return to the moon after nearly half a century has exposed the massive challenges faced by 's once-proud space program.

    The destruction of the robotic Luna-25 probe, which crashed onto the surface of the moon over the weekend, reflects the endemic problems that have dogged the Russian space industry since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. Those include the loss of key technologies in the post-Soviet industrial meltdown, the bruising impact of recent Western sanctions, a huge brain drain and widespread corruption.

    Yuri Borisov, the head of the state-controlled space corporation Roscosmos, attributed the failure to the lack of expertise due to the long break in lunar research that followed the last Soviet mission to the moon in 1976.

    “The priceless experience that our predecessors earned in the 1960-70s was effectively lost,” Borisov said. “The link between generations has been cut.”

    While the lost the race to the United States to land humans on the moon, the Soviet lunar program had more than a dozen successful pioneering robotic missions, some of which featured lunar rovers and brought soil samples back to Earth. The proud Soviet space history includes launching the first satellite in space in 1957 and the first human in space in 1961.

    Mikhail Marov, a 90-year-old scientist who played a prominent role in planning the earlier lunar missions and worked on…

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