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Chandrayaan 1 mission called off: ISRO

Agencies
Aug 30, 2009 at 08:13pm IST

New Delhi: Scientists have called off the Chandrayaan 1 moon mission after losing radio contact with the unmanned spacecraft on Saturday.

"We don't have contact with the spacecraft and we had to terminate the mission," said G Madhavan Nair, chief of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), in Panaji on Sunday.

"We are disappointed with what has happened, but we have managed to salvage a large volume of data," he said. "We are content with the result."

NOT DISHEARTENED: ISRO chief G Madhavan Nair says Chandrayaan 1 achieved most of its goals.

Nair said the Chandrayaan 1 mission was a success and 95 per cent of its objective had been completed. "We could collect a large volume of data, including 70,000 images of the moon."

ISRO scientists said the spacecraft was hovering at 200 km above the surface of the moon and it would take a thousand days before it touches the lunar surface. ISRO is in talks with US and Russia space research organisations to track the spacecraft.

Radio contact with Chandrayaan-1 was abruptly lost at 0130 hrs on Saturday. S Satish, director of ISRO’s public relations, told CNN-IBN on Saturday loss of radio contact meant ISRO was not in communication with Chandrayaan 1 and was unable to determine what was happening to it.

The launch of Chandrayaan-1 in October 2008 put India in an elite club of countries with moon missions. Other countries with similar satellites are the United States, Russia, the European Space Agency, Japan and China.

The US$80 million lunar spacecraft has had problems earlier too. In May, the satellite lost a critical instrument called the star sensor. Two months later, it overheated but scientists were able to salvage the craft and resume normal operations.

The spacecraft had completed around 95 per cent of the two-year mission's objectives, said a senior ISRO official on Saturday.

India plans to send an astronaut into space by 2014 and a manned mission to the moon by 2020. The Government has approved the launch of Chandrayaan-2, which is expected to take off between 2010 and 2012, and will include a rover that will land on the moon.

(With inputs from PTI and AP)

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