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India Lands on the Moon, Russia Crashes

It’s interesting that, back when I wrote about the failure of Phobos-Grunt, the post was also actually prompted by another space agency’s success, even if the two were further apart in time. Those were both launches, not landings, and the success was NASA‘s, not ISRO‘s, but the fact remains and once again makes Russia’s failure even more embarrassing. Not that it wouldn’t have been bad enough even on its own, and even more so at such a time, when they try to show off their “muscles” in every domain and keep ending up punching themselves in the face.

So, mere days after the crash of Luna 25, after the engine burned for far too long, 127 seconds instead of 84, and sent it on an orbit that’d have reached 15 km below the surface of the Moon, Chandrayaan-3 managed to successfully land. And if underfunding is considered as an important cause of Luna 25’s failure, India made do with far less. Of course, the real costs are not expressed in money, and from that point of view both countries do very poorly, and there are aspects in which worse can be assumed about India even now, despite the terrible regime that rules Russia, but it still seems to show a difference in skill levels and dedication.

Of course, there’s a long, long way from a successful landing to a successful mission, and ISRO’s goals are far from ambitious to begin with, while on the other hand any failure in space exploration is a failure of, and for, all of humanity, not just the space agency and country involved, and we’re awfully far from where we should be in this field at this point, same as in so many other important ones. So, objectively, there aren’t that many reasons to celebrate and plenty to be saddened by this turn of events. However, at this very moment, I can’t help but enjoy Russia’s embarrassment… And I even wonder whether it had any sort of influence on the decision to get rid of another embarrassment in such a rushed and rather rudimentary manner… But that’s another matter.


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