Luna-Glob technical assignment updated in 2016
In 2016, the Luna-Glob project got a new revision of its formal Technical Assignment, which authorized its work, based on latest changes in the project and opening opportunities for cooperation with the European Space Agency, ESA.
A file photo of the Luna-Glob prototype during assembly at NPO Lavochkin circa 2015.
Revisions of the project
The Russian Federal Space program adopted by the government of the Russian Federation with Decree No. 230 on March 23, 2016, gave the formal go ahead to the continuous development of Luna-Glob, despite some unofficial reports that its budget could be slashed. According to official procurement documentation published in 2016, Roskosmos planned to allocate 4.5 billion rubles for the Luna-Glob project until the end of 2019, when the mission was scheduled to be launched.
Reflecting multiple changes in the project, primarily during the development of a Revision 1 to the Preliminary Design, which was produced in 2013 and 2014, Roskosmos issued an Addendum 1 No. 5420/16 to the Technical Assignment in the Luna-Glob project in 2016. It was mandated by Roskosmos Decision No. MKh-316-r issued on Aug. 28, 2015.
First of all, Addendum excluded an option of cooperating with Ukraine, in the wake of the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014. At the same time, the Luna-Glob project now anticipated a possibility of cooperation with Europe, based on agreements reached with ESA under the ExoMars deal struck on March 14, 2013.
In August 2016, NPO Lavochkin, the prime contractor in the Luna-Glob project, reported that the company had completed the construction of a unique facility for simulating the soft landing on the surface of the Moon. The special rig included a movable platform filled with simulated lunar regolith and a crane designed to lower a prototype of the lander onto the "surface." The facility was designed to test the stability of the spacecraft on the surface and to measure accelerations impacting the vehicle. The tests would also help optimize the mass of the landing gear and perfect its shock-absorbing features. Moreover, the ability to interchange surface on the platform might eventually allow more accurate representations of the lunar surface or that of other planets.
Blueprints and software for the control of the lunar surface simulator were developed at NPO Lavochkin's division in the city of Kaluga, while the company's own Shops No. 381, 330, 343 and 115 manufactured the hardware for the facility. Shop No. 381, built three mockups representing the Luna-Glob, Luna-Resurs and Luna-Grunt landers, which would be tested on the lunar surface stand.
As of August 2016, Lavochkin promised to begin drop tests on the stand in the first quarter of 2017. (823)
According to the Deputy Director for Production at NPO Lavochkin A. P. Tyutyunnikov, in the fourth quarter of 2016, the company's manufacturing plant began receiving documentation for the Luna-Glob mission, allowing it to start the production of components for the spacecraft.
A demo version of the Luna-Glob lander as of 2016. Click to enlarge. Credit: NPO Lavochkin
A test facility for testing soft-landing on the Moon was completed at NPO Lavochkin around 2016. Credit: NPO Lavochkin
A mass prototype built for testing of the Luna-Glob landing built around 2016. Click to enlarge. Credit: NPO Lavochkin