Fresh from the triumph of the Chandrayaan-3 Moon mission, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is now setting its sights on the blazing heart of our solar system. In an exciting endeavor, ISRO’s trusted PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) is poised to embark on a 125-day voyage, carrying the maiden solar mission, Aditya-L1, on a celestial journey to study the Sun.
Here are the top updates on ISRO’s Aditya-L1 solar mission:
•Sunbound Departure: The Sun observatory mission, named Aditya-L1 (Aditya means “the Sun” in Sanskrit), is scheduled for liftoff from the second launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Andhra Pradesh at 11:50 am on Saturday. This comes less than two weeks after the successful soft landing of Chandrayaan-3’s Vikram lander on the Moon’s south pole.
•Voyage to the Sun: ISRO Chairman S. Somanath revealed that the Sun mission will embark on a 125-day journey to reach its designated orbit. Aditya-L1 is designed to conduct remote observations of the solar corona and in-situ observations of the solar wind at L1, the Sun-Earth Lagrangian point, located approximately 1.5 million kilometers from Earth.
•Lagrangian Lure: Aditya-L1’s choice of destination, L1, holds a unique advantage for solar observations. Positioned in a Halo orbit, L1 allows for uninterrupted views of the Sun, free from the interruptions of eclipses. L1 is a gravitational equilibrium point where the forces between the Sun and Earth are balanced, providing stability for objects placed there.
•Intricate Trajectory: Following its launch, Aditya-L1 will remain in Earth-bound orbits for 16 days, undergoing five maneuvers to attain the necessary velocity for its interstellar sojourn. A critical trans-Lagrangian insertion maneuver marks the commencement of its 110-day journey to L1.
•Orbiting the Sun: Upon arrival at the L1 point, Aditya-L1 will perform another maneuver to establish a stable orbit around L1. The satellite’s mission life will be spent orbiting L1 in an irregularly shaped path, perpendicular to the line connecting Earth and the Sun.
•The Solar Frontier: ISRO underscores the importance of studying the Sun, the nearest star, in greater detail. Insights gained from the Sun’s study can expand our understanding of stars within the Milky Way and across galaxies.
•Instrumental Payload: Aditya-L1’s primary payload, the Visible Emission Line Coronagraph (VELC), will capture and transmit 1,440 images per day to ground stations for analysis. VELC, deemed the largest and most technically challenging payload, was developed in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Astrophysics CREST (Centre for Research and Education in Science Technology).
•Mission Objectives: Aditya-L1’s mission objectives encompass an array of solar phenomena, including understanding the solar atmosphere, distribution of solar wind, and temperature anisotropy, among others.
•A Cosmic Blessing: In a spiritual prelude to the mission, S. Somanath offered prayers at the Chengalamma Parameshwari Temple in Tirupati district, echoing the tradition before the Chandrayaan-3 mission.
With Aditya-L1 poised to unlock the Sun’s mysteries and enrich our cosmic understanding, ISRO once again affirms its prowess in pushing the boundaries of space exploration. As the countdown to this solar odyssey progresses, the anticipation of new revelations about our celestial neighbor grows. Aditya-L1 promises to shed light on the star that sustains life on Earth and illuminate the secrets of the cosmos.