Chandrayaan- 1 moon mission virtually over: ISRO

Bangalore: India's first mission to the moon, Chandrayaan- 1 appeared to be virtually over on Saturday after Indian space agency, ISRO's ground station lost communication link with the spacecraft.

"The contact was lost at 01:30 hrs as the deep space network (DSN) at Byalalu, about 40 km from Bangalore, received the data from the lunarcraft during the previous orbit up to 00:25 hrs," an Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) statement stated.

"The mission is definitely over. We have lost contact with the spacecraft," Project Director of the Chandrayaan- 1 mission M Annadurai told a news agency.
However, he said: "It (Chandrayaan- 1) has done its job technically. ..100 per cent. Scientifically also, it has done almost 90-95 percent of its job".

ISRO officials said the agency does not have "much hope" on the mission's continuation.

ISRO is neither able to receive data from Chandrayaan- 1, nor send commands to the moon craft, officials added.
"We are not able to establish contact with the spacecraft. We are not getting the data. We are not able to send commands," an ISRO official said here.

"In simple terms, the spacecraft has become dumb. It can't speak," the official said on condition of anonymity.

ISRO spokesperson S Satish meanwhile said based on the data obtained till its previous orbit at 00:25 hours Saturday, health of the spacecraft was being analysed and it was expected to throw more light on the problem.

The Deep Space Network at Byalalu near here received the data from the 1,380 kg Chandrayaan- 1, which carried 11 instruments on board, including six from overseas, during the previous orbit up to 0025 hours.

ISRO is conducting detailed review of the telemetry data from the spacecraft. "We will analyse as to what happened," Annadurai said.

Chandrayaan was launched on October 22, 2008 from India's only spaceport Sriharikota, about 90 km from northeast of Chennai, on board the polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV).

"The spacecraft has completed 312 days in orbit, making over 3,400 orbits around the moon and providing large volume of data from sophisticated sensors like terrain mapping camera, hyper-spectral imager, moon mineralogy mapper and so on, meeting most of the scientific objectives of the mission," the ISRO statement added.

Radio contact loss with Chandrayaan- 1 comes just over four months after the onboard star sensor used for determining the orientation of the spacecraft started malfunctioning (on April 26).

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