Luna 26

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Luna 26
Maquette-Luna-Resurs-Orbiter-DSC 0076.jpg
Mission typeReconnaissance
Spacecraft properties
Launch mass2,100 kg (4,600 lb)[1]
Start of mission
Launch date2024[2]
RocketSoyuz-2 (proposed)
Orbital parameters
Reference systemPolar
Peripolar altitude100 km
Apopolar altitude50 km
Moon orbiter
← Luna 25
Luna 27 →

Luna 26 (Luna-Resurs-Orbiter[3] or Luna-Resurs O[4]) is a planned lunar polar orbiter, part of the Luna-Glob program, by the Russian space agency Roscosmos. In addition to its scientific role, the Luna 26 orbiter would also function as a telecomm relay between Earth and Russian landed assets.[1] This mission was announced in November 2014, and its launch is planned for 2024[2] on a Soyuz-2 rocket.[5]


The Luna 26 orbiter mission has been in planning since at least 2011.[1] Originally it was envisioned to be launched to the Moon together with the lunar lander Luna 27 which will land on the South Pole–Aitken basin, an unexplored area on the far side of the Moon,[6][4][7] but because of mass limitations, they will be launched separately.[1] The orbiter's mass is about 2,100 kg.[1]

The objective of the orbiter is to locate and quantify natural lunar resources that can be exploited by future landed missions.[8] After completion of its primary mission, the spacecraft's orbit will be raised to about 500 km altitude to study cosmic rays.[3]

International collaboration[edit]

The European Space Agency (ESA) will contribute to this and other Luna-Glob missions in the manner of communications, precision landing, hazard avoidance, drilling, sampling, sample analysis and ground support.[9][10]

As of October 2017, the USA space agency NASA is negotiating and assessing a potential collaboration with the Luna-Glob missions Luna 25 through Luna 28.[11]

In September 2019, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) and Roscosmos signed two agreements on scientific cooperation and coordination between Luna 26 and the upcoming Chang'e 7 lunar polar orbiter.[12]

Scientific payload[edit]

The scientific payload on board the orbiter is composed of fourteen instruments[1] that will be fabricated by Russia and by some European partners.[1] The payload will study the lunar surface and the environment around the Moon, including the solar wind, and high-energy cosmic rays.[1] The orbiter may carry some NASA instruments, or instruments from private USA companies.[11] Luna 26 will also scout sites for the planned Luna 27 landing mission.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Luna-Glob Orbiter (Luna-Glob 2/Luna 26. Anatoly Zak, Russian Space Web.10 October 2014,
  2. ^ a b "Рогозин сообщил о переносе запусков станций "Луна-26" и "Луна-27"" [Rogozin announces the postponement of launches of the Luna-26 and Luna-27 stations]. RIA Novosti (in Russian). 11 April 2019. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  3. ^ a b Russian Moon exploration program. Russian Research Institute (IKI). 2017.
  4. ^ a b "ESA's plans for Lunar Exploration" (PDF). European Space Agency (ESA). 2014. Retrieved 2015-10-18.
  5. ^ Missions to the Moon. The Planetary Society. 2017.
  6. ^ Ghosh, Pallab (16 October 2015). "Europe and Russia mission to assess Moon settlement". BBC News. Retrieved 2015-10-16.
  7. ^ "Russia-ESA Lunar Exploration Cooperation: Luna Mission Speed Dating". European Space Agency (ESA). 17 February 2014. Retrieved 2015-10-18.
  8. ^ Sources of materials at the three high-priority landing sites of the Luna-Glob mission (PDF). M.A. Ivanov, A.M. Abdrakhimov, A.T. Basilevsky, N.E. Demidov, E.N. Guseva, J.W. Head, H. Hiesinger, A.A. Kohanov, S.S. Krasilnikov. The Eighth Moscow Solar System Symposium, 2017.
  9. ^ Exploring and Using Lunar Polar Volatiles. International Strategic Coordination. Published by NASA.
  10. ^ "Luna-Glob" and "Luna-Resurs": science goals, payload and status. Mitrofanov, Igor; Dolgopolov, Vladimir; Khartov, Viktor; Lukjanchikov, Alexandr; Tret'yakov, Vlad; Zelenyi, Lev. Geophysical Research Abstracts.Vol. 16, EGU2014-6696, 2014 EGU General Assembly 2014.
  11. ^ a b Foust, Jeff (13 October 2017). "NASA studying potential cooperation on Russian lunar science missions". Space News. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  12. ^ "Russia, China agree on joint Moon exploration". TASS. 17 September 2019. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  13. ^ The "Simplest Satellite" That Opened up the Universe. Zelenyi, Lev; Zakutnyaya, Olga. American Scientist; Research Triangle Park, Vol. 105, Iss. 5, (Sep/Oct 2017): 282-289.