Chandrayaan-1 is sole moon craft in space - India - The Times of India Chandrayaan-1 is sole moon craft in space 12 Jun 2009, 0500 hrs IST, Srinivas Laxman, T MUMBAI: Chandrayaan-1 has become the only space craft orbiting the moon after the mission by Japan ended on Wednesday night. India attained the unique status at 11.55 pm when Japanese mooncraft Kaguya crashed on the southern side of the moon. Kaguya had carried out lunar observations for 17 months since its launch on September 14, 2007. Chinese lunar craft Chang'e-1, which was launched on October 24, 2007, had crashed on March 2 ending its mission. Chandrayaan-1 was launched on October 22, 2008. Isro officials said on Thursday that India rocketed into this ununsual position following the crash of Kaguya. "With the Chinese and Japanese moon missions having ended, Chandrayaan—1 is now the only operational spacecraft orbiting the moon,'' said a senior Isro official. The unique status of Chandrayaan—1 will end on June 21 when Nasa's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, slated for lift—off on June 17, enters the lunar orbit. The Isro official said Chandrayaan—1's Sara payload, which is one of the six foreign instruments on board the mooncraft, would be studying the impact of Kaguya's crash and the debris and dust it threw up. Sara — an acronym for Sub Kev Atom Reflecting Analyser — is a joint project of the Swedish Institute of Space Physics and Isro's Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre at Thiruvanathanapuram. The use of Sara for analysing data following the crash of Kaguya is considered significant because the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Jaxa) has also contributed towards its development. Among the functions of Sara are imaging the moon's surface composition, studying solar wind surface interaction and analysing space weather. The launch of Nasa's lunar orbiter is important to India because data will be shared and compared with information so far gathered from Chandrayaan-1 mission. Nasa spokesperson Ashley Edwards told TOI that there are two related radar instruments on the two missions —— Mini Sar on Chandrayaan-1 and Mini-RF on the lunar orbiter. "We expect that the Mini-RF team will target some of the locations on the moon's surface that have been imaged by Mini-Sar. This will enable comparision of instruments' performance and support common calibration conditions,'' Edwards said. Edwards explained that in addition to these efforts the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) on board the lunar orbiter would use data from Mini-Sar on Chandrayaan-1 to assess the surface roughness of potential impact target locations. "The LCROSS targeting team will also benefit from being aware of any potential indications of water ice identified by Chandrayaan's Mini-Sar,'' he added.