India Abandons Unmanned Moon Mission, After Losing Contact with Spacecraft

August 31, 2009

(ChattahBox)—After losing contact with its unmanned spacecraft orbiting the Moon, India was forced to abandon its moon mission, having no means to locate the orbiter. The Chandrayaan-I spacecraft would float in space for 1,000 days, before crashing into the surface of the Moon.

The Indian Space Research Organization, launched the Chandrayaan-I 312 days ago carrying payloads from the United States, the European Union and Bulgaria. The spacecraft was equipped to take high-resolution, three-dimensional images of the lunar surface, which it did for more than 300 days before vanishing from the radar screens.

The Chandrayaan-I orbited the Moon more than 3,400 times, relaying a “large volume of data,” back to the Indian Space Research Organization.

S. Satish, a spokesman for the space agency attributed problems with the spacecraft for its disappearance. Although it was expected to stay in orbit for two-years, the space agency now realizes the Chandrayaan-I wasn’t designed for such an extended orbit.

“That probably was a mistake because such craft do not have this much life, said S. Satish.

The space agency may ask the U.S. and the Russians for help locating the Chandrayaan-I, before giving up on the orbiter completely.

Despite its short life, the Indian space agency is pleased with the spacecraft’s performance, as it met most of the agency’s objectives during its 312 days in space.



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