July 17, 2009 / 7:14 AM / 11 years ago

India's first unmanned moon probe malfunctions

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

Writing by Matthias Williams; Editing by Bryson Hull

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