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The European Space Agency on Wednesday ended cooperation with Russia on three missions to the Moon over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, following an earlier decision to do the same for a Mars mission.

The European Space Agency said it would “stop collaborative activities” on Luna 25, 26 and 27, a series of Russian missions to the Moon in which the European agency was intended to test new equipment and technology.

In late March, cooperation on ExoMars, a plan to land a rover on Mars to dig into the soil and search for signs of life, was suspended.

“As with ExoMars, Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and the resulting sanctions represent a fundamental change in circumstances and make it impossible for ESA to carry out the planned lunar cooperation,” the European Space Agency said in a statement.

The European Space Agency had planned to get a navigation camera called Pilot-D on the Luna-25 probe, due to launch this summer.

Josef Aschbacher, director general of the European Space Agency, told a news briefing that the camera would be disassembled and removed from the launch, and that the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, had already been informed.

The European Space Agency said it was looking at other options and partners to test the technology that would have been part of the Russian missions, adding that some had already been found.

The agency said a replacement mission for the Pilot-D “is already being purchased from a commercial service provider.”

Equipment including lunar exercises originally planned for Luna-27 will now be launched on a NASA-led mission instead.

The European Space Agency said a study of new options for ExoMars components is also being fast-tracked.

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This mission was supposed to begin in September. – France Media Agency


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