European Space Agency Ends Cooperation with Russia on Lunar Missions
April 14, 2022 (EIRNS)—The European Space Agency (ESA) has taken the decision to stop cooperation with Russia on its missions Luna-25, Luna-26, and Luna-27, ESA said in a statement on April 13. “Following the Russian aggression [sic] against Ukraine, ESA’s Director General has initiated a comprehensive review of all activities currently undertaken in cooperation with Russia and Ukraine,” the statement says. In particular, “ESA will discontinue cooperative activities with Russia on Luna-25, -26 and -27.”
“As with ExoMars,” Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine and “the resulting sanctions put in place represent a fundamental change of circumstances and make it impossible for ESA to implement the planned lunar cooperation,” the agency says, adding that other flight opportunities are being considered.
ESA withdrew from ExoMars on March 17, the Russian-European Mars exploration mission, because of the U.S. sanctions, prompting Roscosmos director Dmitry Rogozin to affirm that Russia will now go it alone: “True, we will lose several years, but we will replicate our landing module, make an Angara rocket for it and carry out this research mission from the newly-built Vostochny spaceport on our own. ... In reality, this is a very sad event for all space enthusiasts. ... One European bureaucrat has sent efforts by thousands of specialists down the drain at the stroke of a pen.” ESA’s statement today acknowledged that “all the elements of the ExoMars Rover mission (the launcher, carrier module, descent module and Rosalind Franklin rover) have now passed their flight readiness reviews,” to no avail with the cancellation of the mission.