tech2 News StaffMar 14, 2017 10:32:04 IST
Last week it emerged that a Nasa's latest tracking hardware with advanced radar systems was able to find the lost Chandrayaan 1 spacecraft. The Chandrayaan-1 mission payload was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre on 22 October 2008 aboard the PSLV-XL C11 rocket. The orbiter was inserted into lunar orbit on 8 November 2008 and was expected to remain operational until at least 2010.
Sadly, the orbiter started experiencing technical issues with the star sensors, thermal shielding and more. On 29 August 2009, Isro lost contact with the spacecraft.
Madhavan Nair, former chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) and one of the main figures behind India's first lunar mission, has hailed the Nasa finding. Nair commended the advancement in Nasa's radar systems which could allow tracking of a small spacecraft from approximate distance of 400,000 km away.
Nasa decided to “find” the Chandrayaan-1 orbiter to test some new tracking hardware that was being developed. The tracking hardware involves an Earth-based radar system that Nasa has been using to track asteroids. They used this radar to pinpoint the location of Nasa’s own Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), but this was easy as they had precise orbital data for the LRO.
Speaking to Zee News, Nair said that Isro had predicted a two-year life for Chandrayaan 1, but contact was lost after a power system failure.
"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," said Marina Brozovic, who was the principal investigator for the test project.
According to Nair, this radar technology developed by Nasa can also be used to track meteors and other celestial objects. Isro has also said that Chandrayaan 1 has completed 3400 orbits around the moon till the mission was concluded due to losing the spacecraft in 2009.
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