labels: Indian Space Research Organisation, News reports
Chandrayaan-I loses critical sensor, may curtail operations news
17 July 2009

Bangalore: After a successful eight-month long orbit, India's lunar probe Chandrayaan-I has developed a malfunction that may compel a shortening of its operational life. The mission was intended to last two years.

''Unfortunately, during the last month we have lost a vital sensor --- the star sensor," Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman G Madhavan Nair revealed. But, he said, space scientists had affected innovative solutions and patched two other instruments to help manoeuvre the spacecraft to desired locations.

"Like in the olden days when one used to look at the stars to fix a direction, likewise an onboard electronic equipment was doing all this and it was required for precise pointing (towards the moon). With its loss we are really worried," he said.

"But to the credit of the ISRO scientific team, they have worked out a very innovative way of overcoming the problem," the ISRO chief said, but added that if some more failures happen, "then we will have problems".

Nair said gyroscopes as well as an antenna have been used to allow the craft to find a direction. "We are able to continue the functions as in the past and there is no major issue as of now," the ISRO chief added.

"We are not sure how long we will be able to sustain it. The life of Chandrayaan-I designed for two years may be reduced," ISRO spokesman S Satish said.

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Chandrayaan-I loses critical sensor, may curtail operations