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India terminates moon mission

india Updated: Aug 31, 2009 01:51 IST
PTI
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India on Sunday decided to terminate its first unmanned moon mission as contact could not be re-established with the spacecraft Chandrayaan, Indian Space Research organisation (ISRO) Chairman G Madhavan Nair said, adding that he would meet the prime minister next week to brief him about the development.

"We are disappointed with what has happened, but we have managed to salvage a large volume of data," Nair told reporters in Panaji.

"We are content with the result," he said, adding that nearly 95 per cent of the mission's objectives have been completed.

"Nearly 70,000 images of the moon have been captured during the mission. We were also conducting joint experiments with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) scientists and sharing signals received from our spacecraft," he said.

Chandrayaan-1, launched in October last year, sent last message 00.25 IST Saturday and the space agency's Deep Space Network (DSN) lost radio contact with the spacecraft five minutes later.

Nair said a high-level committee was appointed to probe the failure, adding that the exact details about the reasons, which led to Chandrayaan's failure, could not be figured out in the absence of telemetry signals, which provide crucial indicators.

The computers on board the craft could have malfunctioned, triggering off the communication failure, he added.

"The power signals which go to the computer systems failed and we had to terminate the mission," Nair said, adding that the spacecraft was orbiting the moon at a distance of about 200 km and it would take nearly 1,000 days for it to hit the moon's surface.

"We have already initiated discussions with the US and Russia to use their radars to track the orbiting spacecraft," Nair said.

He also said lessons will be learnt from Chandrayaan-I and this failure would not delay the launch of Chandrayaan-II.

"There are some marginal corrections needed," he said, adding that he would be meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh next week to speak to him about the mission.

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