After being 9 months in orbit, India’s first lunar mission, Chandrayaan I has suffered a set back with a prime sensor failure threatening to disrupt the mission. The sensor is critical for the spacecraft’s orientation and determining altitude. Chandrayaan I was launched on October 22nd 2008 and has orbited the moon over 3000 times by now. The 518 Kg spacecraft carries 11 payloads of which 5 are from india, 3 from European Space Agency, 2 from US and 1 from Bulgaria.
The failed star sensor aboard the spacecraft determines the position of a satellite or space probe by using recorded patters of star constellations. Thus it’s failure will lead to the spacecraft unable to navigate.
Scientists in India have said that the moon mission has completed 95% of its objectives and the project which costed Rs 386 crore can be treated as a success. The Chandrayaan performance has seen no degradation and the images being sent are sharp and clear. As of now however, the moon mission is not in danger. ISRO has overcome the malfunction by using antenna-pointing mechanism and onboard gyroscopes, which have been activated now.