Due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the European Space Agency terminated collaboration with Russia on three lunar projects on Wednesday, following a similar decision for a Mars mission.
The European Space Agency (ESA) has announced that it would “discontinue cooperating efforts” on Luna-25, Luna-26, and Luna-27, a series of Russian lunar missions on which the European space agency had hoped to test new equipment and technologies.
ExoMars, a proposal to send a rover on Mars to dig into the soil and look for evidence of life, was also put on hold in late March.
“As with ExoMars, Russia’s actions against Ukraine and the sanctions imposed as a result constitute a major shift in circumstances, making it impossible for ESA to carry out the planned lunar collaboration,” the ESA said in a statement.
The European Space Agency had intended to include a navigation camera named Pilot-D on the Luna-25 mission, which is set to launch this summer.
At a news conference, ESA Director-General Josef Aschbacher said the camera will be disassembled and removed from the launch, and that Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, had already been notified.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is exploring for other options and partners to test the technologies that would have been part of the Russian missions, it said, adding that some had already been discovered.
The agency stated that an alternative mission for Pilot-D is “now being sought from a commercial service provider.”
Equipment for Luna-27, including a lunar drill, will now be sent on a NASA-led mission instead.
According to the ESA, a research on additional alternatives for ExoMars components is also being expedited.
The mission was slated to launch in September, but it never happened.