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Russia's Luna-25 Probe Reaches Moon Orbit

Friday's rocket launch at the Vostochny Cosmodrome. Roscosmos

Moscow's Luna-25 lander is due to reach the Moon's orbit Wednesday, in the first such Russian mission in almost 50 years, according to Roscosmos space agency.

With the lunar launch, Moscow's first since 1976, Russia hopes to provide renewed momentum to its space industry, which has been struggling for years and has become increasingly isolated amid the war in Ukraine.

The lander is set to orbit 100 kilometers above the Moon's surface before a planned landing Monday north of the Boguslawsky crater on the lunar south pole.

Cameras installed on the lander have already taken distant shots of the Earth and Moon from space, Roscosmos said.

The lander, weighing around 800 kilograms, was carried into space by a Soyuz rocket launched Friday from the Vostochny cosmodrome in Russia's Far East.

It is due to stay on the Moon for a year, where it is tasked with collecting samples and analyzing soil.

The mission comes as the future of Russia's long-running cooperation with the West in space exploration looks in doubt, as Moscow continues to wage its war against Ukraine.

Russia said it would go ahead with its own lunar explorer plans, despite the European Space Agency (ESA) announcing it would not cooperate with Moscow on future missions over its invasion.

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