Russia's lunar exploration suffered a major setback as the Luna-25 spacecraft crashed while attempting to land at the moon's south pole.

The mission aimed to be Russia's first moon landing in nearly 50 years, competing with India for lunar rover deployment.

The spacecraft faced difficulties during an orbital maneuver, leading to a collision with the lunar surface and a tragic end to the mission.

The legacy of the Soviet-era Soyuz rockets remains strong, however the Luna-25 failure has implications for Putin's strategic goals and Russia's lunar partnership with China.

NASA's administrator sees China as a major space race competitor. While lunar base establishment holds promise, concerns about military motives and Russia's cosmic standing persist.