15 September 2023, Mumbai: India’s Aditya-L1 spacecraft, the nation’s first space-based mission to study the Sun, is making significant strides. ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) announced that the spacecraft successfully completed its fourth earth-bound manoeuvre (EBN#4).
Aditya-L1’s next crucial step
During this manoeuvre, ISRO’s ground stations in Mauritius, Bengaluru, SDSC-SHAR, and Port Blair tracked the satellite. Additionally, a transportable terminal located in the Fiji Islands supported post-burn operations. As a result, Aditya-L1 achieved a new orbit with dimensions of 256 km x 121973 km. Aditya-L1’s next crucial step is the Trans-Lagrangian Point 1 Insertion (TL1I) manoeuvre, scheduled for September 19, at approximately 02:00 Hrs. IST. This manoeuvre marks the start of its nearly 110-day trajectory towards the first Sun-Earth Lagrangian point (L1), situated about 1.5 million km from Earth.
Aditya-L1 carries seven scientific payloads developed by ISRO and national research laboratories, including the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) in Bengaluru and the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) in Pune. These payloads are designed to observe various aspects of the Sun, from its photosphere to the corona, using electromagnetic particle and magnetic field detectors.
Aditya-L1’s unique vantage point
This mission is vital for gaining insights into solar dynamics, coronal heating, coronal mass ejections, and space weather phenomena. Aditya-L1’s unique vantage point at L1 provides an unparalleled opportunity to study the Sun and its effects on the interplanetary medium. The mission’s success is a testament to ISRO’s capabilities in space exploration and scientific research. Aditya-L1’s observations will undoubtedly contribute to our understanding of the Sun’s behavior and its impact on our planet.
For those unfamiliar with Lagrangian points, they are locations in space where the gravitational forces of two large celestial bodies, in this case, the Earth and the Sun, create a stable environment for a smaller object to remain relatively stationary. Such points are used by spacecraft to conserve fuel and study celestial bodies and phenomena more effectively.
By Yashika Desai