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ISRO’s solar mission Aditya-L1 launched successfully, next will be first trial flight of Gaganyaan in October 

First Published: 3rd September, 2023 8:50 IST

The successful launch of the maiden solar mission of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) came on the heels of the historic lunar landing mission — Chandrayaan-3.

After the PSLV-C57.1 rocket carrying the Aditya-L1 orbiter lifted off successfully from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh on Saturday, Union Minister of State Jitendra Singh said that next will be the first trial for Gaganyaan which might happen in October.

The successful launch of the maiden solar mission of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) came on the heels of the historic lunar landing mission — Chandrayaan-3.

According to the agency, the Aditya-L1 mission is expected to reach the observation point in four months.

It will be placed in a halo orbit around Lagrangian Point 1 (or L1), which is 1.5 million km away from the Earth in the direction of the sun.

It will carry seven different payloads to conduct a detailed study of the sun, four of which will observe the light from the sun and the other three will measure in-situ parameters of the plasma and magnetic fields.

The largest and technically most challenging payload on Aditya-L1 is the Visible Emission Line Coronagraph or VELC. VELC was integrated, tested, and calibrated at the Indian Institute of Astrophysics’ CREST (Centre for Research and Education in Science Technology) campus in Hosakote in collaboration with ISRO.

This strategic location will enable Aditya-L1 to continuously observe the sun without being hindered by eclipses or occultation, allowing scientists to study solar activities and their impact on space weather in real-time.

Also, the spacecraft’s data will help identify the sequence of processes that lead to solar eruptive events and contribute to a deeper understanding of space weather drivers.

Major objectives of India’s solar mission include the study of the physics of solar corona and its heating mechanism, the solar wind acceleration, coupling and dynamics of the solar atmosphere, solar wind distribution and temperature anisotropy, and origin of Coronal Mass Ejections (CME) and flares and near-earth space weather.

According to the Bengaluru-based Indian Institute of Astrophysics, the atmosphere of the sun, the corona, is what is seen during a total solar eclipse. A coronagraph like the VELC is an instrument that cuts out the light from the disk of the Sun and can thus image the much fainter corona at all times.

Calling the launch of Aditya L1 as a sunshine moment for India, Singh said that this has been possible because Prime Minister Narendra Modi has thrown open the gates of Sriharikota.

“It’s a sunshine moment for India. And secondly, like Chandrayaan, here also the whole of the nation was involved. And that’s been possible because Prime Minister Modi has thrown open the gates of Sriharikota. He’s brought all these stakeholders together, made them realize that this mission belongs to the whole of India,” the Union Minister told ANI.

“Next, I think, will be the first trial flight of Gaganyaan, which might happen in the month of October. That is, next month itself,” he added.

Addressing fellow scientists at ISRO to cheers and claps after the successful launch of the country’s first solar mission — Aditya L1 — Nigar Shaji, the director of the project, said on Saturday that it was like a dream coming true.

Speaking to ANI on Saturday, Shaji said, “It feels like a dream coming true. I am extremely happy that Aditya L-1 has been injected successfully (into the designated orbit) by the PSLV. Aditya L-1 has successfully embarked on its 125-day journey.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and Congress President Malikarjun Kharge, among other leaders, congratulated the ISRO scientists for the successful launch of Aditya-L1.

Taking to social media platform X, the PM said, “After the success of Chandrayaan-3, India continues its space journey. Congratulations to our scientists and engineers at @isro for the successful launch of India’s first Solar Mission, Aditya -L1. Our tireless scientific efforts will continue in order to develop a better understanding of the Universe for the welfare of entire humanity.”

Meanwhile, ISRO on Saturday said that the first earth-bound firing to raise the Aditya-L1 orbit is scheduled for September 3 around 11:45 hours.

“Aditya-L1 started generating the power. The solar panels are deployed. The first Earth Bound firing to raise the orbit is scheduled for September 3 around 11:45 hours,” said ISRO.

Aditya-L1 is a satellite dedicated to the comprehensive study of the sun, which will find out the unknown facts about the sun. The satellite will travel on Earth-bound orbits for 16 days, during which it will undergo five manoeuvres to gain the required speed to reach its destination.

Subsequently, Adiya-L1 will undergo a trans-Lagrangian1 insertion manoeuvre that will take 110 days. The satellite will travel approximately 15 million kilometres to reach the L1 point.

“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,” read the information shared on ISRO‘s official website.

Despite being several hundred kilometres away from the sun, ‘Aditya L1’ will continuously observe it.

Efforts will be made to gather as much information as possible about the sun. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) hopes that, similar to Chandrayaan-3, the Aditya-L1 mission will also be successful in achieving its objectives. (ANI)

ALSO READ: After historic moon landing, ISRO’s maiden solar mission, Aditya- L1, launched successfully from Sriharikota

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