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Chandrayaan sensor fails; craft's life may be reduced

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A web extract of Chandrayaan-I on the pad. Sensors on the craft have failed

BANGALORE (PTI): India's first moon mission Chandrayaan-I, launched in October last with a two-year life span, has lost a major sensor and may meet a premature end, the ISRO said on Friday.

"Unfortunately, during the last month we have lost a vital sensor --- the star sensor," the ISRO Chief G Madhavan Nair said.

"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".

Mr. Madhavan, however, said that in the last eight months of the operation of the mission, "we have collected almost all the data that we wanted" and that most of its objectives have already been completed.

Chandrayaan-I was launched from the spaceport of Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on October 22 last year.

ISRO Spokesperson S Satish said, "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".

He, however, maintained that the mission is not crippled adding, "it is continuing satisfactorily."

The ISRO said it has devised innovative technology and is using antenna pointing mechanism and gyroscopes to overcome the problem.

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