India’s first lunar probe found orbiting moon eight years after losing radio contact

NASA finds the Chandrayaan spacecraft 200 kilometres above the lunar surface 

Friday 10 March 2017 14:25
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The Indian spacecraft, Polar Sattelite Launch Vehicle -C11(PSLV) takes off carring India's first lunar probe Chandrayaan-1
The Indian spacecraft, Polar Sattelite Launch Vehicle -C11(PSLV) takes off carring India's first lunar probe Chandrayaan-1

India’s first lunar probe, Chandrayaan-1, has been found orbiting the moon eight years after it lost radio contact.

The spacecraft was found 200 kilometres above the lunar surface by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California.

Chandrayaan was India’s first mission to the moon and was launched in 2008.

After 3,400 orbits around the moon, communication with the probe was lost in 2009.

“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,” Marina Brozovic, a radar scientist at NASA and principal investigator for the test project said, according to the Hindustan Times.

“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,” Ms Brozovic added.

The probe is a cube and about 1.5 metres on each side.

Although it has been found, it is still not in radio contact with ground stations and is not transmitting data.

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