India’s national space agency said that communications with its first unstaffed spacecraft to orbit the moon were lost on Saturday and that its scientists were no longer controlling the orbiter.

Radio contact with the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft was lost abruptly early on Saturday, said India's Bangalore-based Space Research Organization (Isro), according to BBC news.

The launching of Chandrayaan-1 last October put India in an elite club of countries with moon missions: the United States, Russia, Japan, China and members of the European Space Agency.

Through the mission, India aimed to assert its power in space and claim some of the business opportunities there. India hoped to seek out natural resources on the lunar surface, including uranium for nuclear fuel.

The spacecraft, which is not intended to land on the moon, had completed more than 3,400 orbits of the moon over 312 days.

Last month the satellite experienced a technical problem when a sensor experienced problems.

The mission was expected to cost 3.8bn rupees ($78 million), considerably less than Japanese and Chinese probes sent to the Moon last year.

But the Indian government's space efforts have not been welcomed by all with some regarding the program as a waste of the country's economic resources.