As a result of recent Russian rocket launch failures the Indian government has lost interest in a joint project with Russia for soil sample taking at the south pole of the Moon, the Space Council of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) reported late last week.
"Taking into account the RAS Space Research Institute information about the Indian specialists loss of interest in the Luna-27 project, Roscosmos [Russia’s Federal Space Agency] is advised to agree with the Indian side on the issue of exclusion of the Indian ‘mini rover’ from the payload of Luna-Resurs-1 project [new project name - Luna-27]," says the Council’s decision.
Head of the space gamma-ray spectroscopy laboratory of the RAS Space Research Institute Igor Mitrofanov told Russian state news agency TASS that the "RAS Space Council has turned to the Federal Space Agency with this proposal. Roscosmos is currently considering it."
A space industry source told TASS that India was not satisfied with the constant postponement of the Russian lunar missions and a high accident rate.
"As a result, the parties have preliminarily agreed to exchange data on the national lunar programmes and coordinate efforts in the Moon study and went, as they say, their separate ways," the source said.
India is currently planning to land its own probe on the Moon’s south pole in 2016-2017, becoming the first country to implement such a project. The launch of the cancelled Russian probe, according to the draft of the Federal Space Programme for 2016-2025, is scheduled for 2022.