Chandrayaan-1 moon probe malfunctions

BANGALORE Fri Jul 17, 2009 1:04pm IST

Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) G. Madhavan Nair, holds a miniature of India's first unmanned moon mission 'Chandrayaan-1' after its launch from the Satish Dhawan space centre at Sriharikota, about 100 km north of Chennai, October 22, 2008. REUTERS/Babu/Files

Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) G. Madhavan Nair, holds a miniature of India's first unmanned moon mission 'Chandrayaan-1' after its launch from the Satish Dhawan space centre at Sriharikota, about 100 km north of Chennai, October 22, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Babu/Files

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BANGALORE (Reuters) - India's first unmanned moon probe has malfunctioned and may have to curtail its two-year mission, India's space agency said on Friday.

The Chandrayaan-1, which cost $79 million, was launched in October to map the moon's surface and look for precious metals.

"There is a malfunction in the spacecraft but the mission is continuing," S. Satish, spokesman for the Bangalore-based Indian Space Research Organisation, told Reuters by phone.

"It's not a failure. We have conducted experiments and got all the pictures. But the durability of the spacecraft is in question."

The probe's launch saw India join the Asian space race in earnest, following in the footsteps of rival China and boosting its claim as a rising global power.

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