Bringing Chandrayaan-I back will be tough challenge: US astronaut

November 21st, 2008 - 8:30 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 21 (IANS) Terming India’s maiden moon mission as “fantastic” and “great”, renowned American astronaut Jerry M. Linenger Friday said bringing back the probe to earth will be “very difficult”.“Moon Mission is a great achievement for India and for me as well. It’s fantastic to see India’s growing role in space,” Linenger told IANS on the sideline of Hindustan Times Leadership Summit here.

“I am not underplaying the achievement, but let me tell you that bringing back the mission to earth will be very difficult,” he said.

Linenger, who spent 132 days in space and orbited the earth 2,000 times, said bringing back Chandrayaan-I would pose more technological challenges than putting it in moon’s orbit.

“Overcoming it will be a greater success,” said the 53-year-old retired astronaut of NASA.

India’s first probe to moon landed on the lunar surface Nov 14 after riding on Chandrayaan-1, the country’s first unmanned spacecraft to the moon, travelling around 384,000 km in 24 days.

The moon mission was blasted off from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh Oct 22. The mission will return to earth after two years.

The astronaut, who achieved his dream of living in space on Russian space station MIR over a decade back, said more players in the space is a good thing and all countries must come together for space exploration.

“Joint endeavour will be a better option,” he said, adding new players like China and India are doing well for a greater cause.

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