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Did ISRO goof up in predicting Chandrayaan mission life?

August 30, 2009 15:00 IST

Did Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) goof up when it announced that Chandrayaan-1 would have a mission life of two years as none of the lunar craft launched by other nations lasted that long?

On the hindsight, officials of the Bangalore-based space agency admit that they probably did.

"No lunar spacecraft works for two years. We did a mistake by telling it has a mission life of two years," an official said on condition of anonymity, noting that lunar craft of other countries had not lasted beyond 6-7 months.

"By saying it has a two-year life, we are caught in a sticky situation," the official said.

Radio contact with the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft,India's maiden moon mission launched on October 22 last year, was abruptly lost early yesterday, with Project Director M Annadurai saying that the mission is now over.

"Ten months is a very good life. Mapping-wise everything has been completed, except for a few patches," an ISRO official said, referring to performance of Chandrayaan-1.

Officials said the antenna is being rotated in all directions to pick up signals but admit "the chances are slim".

Officials said "some catastrophic failure either in transmitter or receiving systems" is the likely cause of the snapping of radio link. "Majority of the electronic systems are okay. Only communication system has failed", they said.

The situation could be compared to a switched-off cellphone wherein incoming and outgoing communication cannot happen, the official said. 

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