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Lunar lander failures offer a warning to commercial missions

17 Sep 2019, 13:50 UTC
Lunar lander failures offer a warning to commercial missions
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PHOENIX — The apparent failure of an Indian spacecraft to land on the moon this month is providing a reminder to NASA and its commercial partners of the challenges of not only the missions themselves but sharing data on problems they experience.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) lost contact with the Vikram lander, part of its Chandrayaan-2 mission, during the final stages of is descent to the lunar surface Sept. 6, with the last signals received when the spacecraft was at an altitude of 2.1 kilometers. ISRO has not heard from the lander since.
ISRO has released few details about effort to locate and restore contact with the lander. A Sept. 10 statement, the most recent one from ISRO, said that the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter had taken an image of the lander, but said nothing about the state of the lander beyond the continued lack of communications. ISRO also hasn’t released the image.
An ISRO spokesperson said in a Sept. 17 email that it would provide updates on its website and through social media, but didn’t state when ISRO planned to publish such updates. NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is scheduled to observe the landing site Sept. 17, although it wasn’t ...

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