The Indian Space Research Organisation or ISRO, days after its successful Chandrayaan-3 Moon mission, will aim for the Sun on Saturday with its maiden solar expedition, as the space agency’s trusted PSLV will carry the Aditya-L1 mission on a 125-day voyage.
On Friday, the ISRO announced that the countdown for the launch of Aditya L1 onboard PSLV C57 began at Andhra Pradesh’s Sriharikota, which houses the Satish Dhawan Space Centre.
Top updates on ISRO’s Aditya L1 solar mission:
1. The Sun observatory mission Aditya-L1 (Aditya in Sanskrit means the Sun) will be fired from the second launch pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre at 11.50am on Saturday, less than two weeks after the Chandrayaan-3’s Vikram lander soft landed on the south pole of the Moon.
2. ISRO chairman S Somanath said the Sun mission will take 125 days to reach the exact radius. Aditya-L1 is designed to provide remote observations of the solar corona and conduct in-situ observations of the solar wind at L1 (Sun-Earth Lagrangian point), which is about 1.5 million kilometres from the Earth.
3. According to the ISRO, there are five Lagrangian points between the Sun and the Earth, and the L1 point in the Halo orbit would provide a greater advantage of continuously viewing the Sun without any occurrence of an eclipse. For common understanding, L1 is a location in space where the gravitational forces of two celestial bodies, such as the Sun and Earth, are in equilibrium. This allows an object placed there to remain relatively stable with respect to both celestial bodies.
4. Following its scheduled launch on September 2, Aditya-L1 stays Earth-bound orbits for 16 days, during which it undergoes five manoeuvres to gain the necessary velocity for its journey.
5. Subsequently, Aditya-L1 undergoes a trans-Lagrangian1 insertion manoeuvre, marking the beginning of its 110-day trajectory to the destination around the L1 Lagrange point.
The 23-hour 40-minute countdown leading to the launch at 11:50 Hrs. IST on September 2, 2023, has commended today at 12:10 Hrs.
— ISRO (@isro) September 1, 2023
6. Upon arrival at the L1 point, another manoeuvre binds Aditya-L1 to an orbit around L1, a balanced gravitational location between the Earth and the Sun. The satellite spends its whole mission life orbiting around L1 in an irregularly shaped orbit in a plane roughly perpendicular to the line joining the Earth and the Sun.
7. On embarking on such a complex mission, the Bengaluru headquartered space agency said the Sun is the nearest star and, therefore, can be studied in much more detail as compared to the others. By studying the Sun much more about could be learnt about stars in the Milky Way as well as in various other galaxies, the ISRO said.
8. The primary payload of Aditya-L1 the Visible Emission Line Coronagraph would be sending 1,440 images per day to the ground station for analysis on reaching the intended orbit. VELC, “the largest and technically most challenging” payload on Aditya-L1, was integrated, tested, and calibrated at the Indian Institute of Astrophysics CREST (Centre for Research and Education in Science Technology), campus in Hoskote near Bengaluru with substantial collaboration with ISRO.
9. The objectives of the mission include understanding the solar atmosphere, solar wind distribution, and temperature anisotropy, among others.
10. On Friday, S Somanath offered prayers at Chengalamma Parameshwari Temple in Tirupati district, ahead of the launch of Aditya-L1 mission. He had visited the temple ahead of the Chandrayaan-3 mission too.
FAQs for Aditya-L1 mission
What is Aditya-L1?
Aditya-L1 is a satellite dedicated to the comprehensive study of the Sun.
When Aditya-L1 will land?
It will not land but will be in a halo orbit around Lagrange Point 1.
How will Aditya-L1 land on Sun?
Aditya-L1 will stay approximately 1.5 million km away from Earth, directed towards the Sun, which is about 1% of the Earth-Sun distance.
How will Aditya-L1 work?
The ISRO said Aditya-L1 will be placed in a Low Earth Orbit. Subsequently, the orbit will be made more elliptical and later the spacecraft will be launched towards the Lagrange Point or L1 by using onboard propulsion.