Chandrayan-1: Former ISRO chairman Madhavan Nair praises NASA for spotting satellite orbiting moon
New Delhi : Former chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation ( ISRO) and the key figure behind the Chandrayaan I mission, Madhvan Nair has praised NASA scientists for spotting the satellite orbiting moon.
"The big achievement here is the advancement made in NASA’s radar systems. That they could track our tiny spacecraft from approximately 400,000 km away is a big achievement," a news daily quotes Madhavan Nair.
ISRO had launched Chandrayaan-1 mission on October 22, 2008 from Sriharikota. The mission went good for about 312 days before the scientists lost all kind of contact in August 2009. The mission had been declared over after scientists tried their best but failed to find any traces of the satellite.
“Back then, we had predicted a two-year life for Chandrayaan I. But we lost contact after a power system failure,” Madhavan Nair recalled.
According to ISRO, “the satellite made over 3,400 orbits around the moon and the mission was concluded when the communication with the spacecraft was lost on August 29, 2009.”
After eight years of lost journey, NASA scientists have now located Chandrayaan-1 that is still circling some 200 kilometers above the lunar surface.
In addition to finding Chandrayaan-1, the scientists also located NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter around the Moon.
"We have been able to detect NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and the Indian Space Research Organisation's Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft in lunar orbit with ground-based radar," said Marina Brozovic, a radar scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and principal investigator for the test project.
"Finding LRO was relatively easy, as we were working with the mission's navigators and had precise orbit data where it was located. Finding India's Chandrayaan-1 required a bit more detective work because the last contact with the spacecraft was in August of 2009," Brozovic said in a NASA statement on Thursday.