ISRO is set to launch India’s first solar mission, Aditya L-1 (Aditya-L1), on September 2. The countdown for this historic mission has already begun, with the launch scheduled to take place at 11:50 am from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota.
Aditya-L1 Launch Updates: The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) will launch the nation’s first solar mission, Aditya L-1, on September 2. The countdown is underway, and the mission will lift off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota at 11:50 am. Aditya Yan will be carried into space aboard the PSLV-C57 rocket. Following its launch, Aditya-L1 will embark on a four-month journey to reach the L1 point in space. Here, we will delve into every significant aspect of this mission that you should know.
Mission Is Completely Indigenous
India’s Aditya L1 mission is entirely indigenous and has been developed by the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) in Bengaluru. According to ISRO, Aditya L-1 will carry seven payloads designed to observe the photosphere, chromosphere, and the outermost layers of the Sun, known as the corona. Among these payloads, four will focus on the Sun itself, while the remaining three will study the area around the L-1 point.
Why Was This Mission Named Aditya-L1?
The “L1” in Aditya-L1 stands for “Lagrange point 1.” Lagrange points are locations in space where the gravitational forces of two massive bodies, in this case, the Sun and Earth, balance each other. Essentially, Lagrange points serve as stable parking spots for spacecraft, allowing for extended testing and data collection. Given that another name for the Sun is “Surya” (Aditya), the mission aims to reach the L1 point, leading to its name, Aditya L-1. This mission marks India’s first space-based laboratory dedicated to studying the Sun from an orbit around L1.
What Is the Purpose of Aditya L1?
The primary objectives of Aditya L-1 are as follows:
- To study the Sun’s surrounding atmosphere.
- To investigate chromospheric and coronal heating and conduct research on solar flares.
- To study the physics of the solar corona and measure its temperature.
- To diagnose coronal and coronal loop plasma, extracting information on temperature, velocity, and density.
- To explore the origin, composition, and dynamics of the solar wind.
What Is the L1 Point?
The distance between the Sun and Earth is approximately 150 million kilometers, and within this span, there are five Lagrange points, denoted as L1, L2, L3, L4, and L5, named after the 18th-century Italian astronomer and mathematician Joseph-Louis Lagrange. L1, L2, and L3 points are not stable and constantly change positions, while L4 and L5 points are fixed. The L1 point is the closest to Earth, situated 1.5 million kilometers away. It is also known as the Lagrangian point, Lagrange point, liberation point, or L-point.
Why Choose the L1 Point?
The L1 point is strategically positioned for 24-hour observation of the Sun, thanks to its gravitational balance between Earth and the Sun. This balance generates centrifugal force, allowing spacecraft to maintain a stable position. Furthermore, the L1 point is not affected by the day-night cycle, offering continuous visibility of the Sun throughout the week. Its proximity to Earth makes communication easy, making it an ideal location for study.
How Will the Spacecraft Travel from Earth to L-1?
The journey of Aditya L-1 involves several steps:
- Launch from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota on September 2 at 11:50 am using the Polar Satellite Vehicle (PSLV-C57) rocket.
- Place Aditya L-1 in a lower Earth orbit after launching with the PSLV-C57 rocket.
- Raise Aditya-L1’s orbit through maneuvers, guiding it toward the L1 point using onboard propulsion.
- As Aditya L-1 exits Earth’s gravitational field, it enters the “cruise step” phase.
- During this phase, the spacecraft will travel smoothly and be positioned in a large Halo Orbit around L1, a journey that will take approximately four months.
- Aditya L-1 will carry seven payloads to observe the Sun’s photosphere, chromosphere, and outermost layers (corona), with four payloads dedicated to solar observations and three focusing on the L-1 vicinity.
Aditya-L1 features a total of seven payloads, comprising four remote sensing payloads and three in-situ payloads:
Remote Sensing Payloads:
- Visible Emission Line Coronagraph (VELC): Corona Imaging and Spectroscopy
- Solar Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (SUIT): Photosphere and Chromosphere Imaging – Narrow and Broad Band
- Solar Low Energy X-ray Spectrometer (SoLEXS): Soft X-ray Spectrometer
- High Energy L1 Orbiting X-ray Spectrometer (HEL1OS): Hard X-ray Spectrometer
- Aditya Solar Wind Particle Experiment (ASPEX)
- Plasma Analyzer Package for Aditya (PAPA)
- Advanced Tri-Axle High-Resolution Digital Magnetometers
Why Does ISRO Launch Satellites from Sriharikota?
Sriharikota’s location holds key advantages for ISRO:
- Proximity to the Equator: Sriharikota is closer to the equator than other South Indian locations, making it an ideal launch site for most satellites that orbit near the Earth’s equator. This proximity reduces mission costs and enhances success rates.
- Launch Direction: Most satellite launches are directed eastward, and Sriharikota’s eastern location is sparsely populated, with ISRO personnel and local fishermen as the primary inhabitants. This isolation makes it a safe choice for eastward launches.
- Additional Velocity: Being on the east coast provides an additional velocity of 0.4 km/s, aiding launches.
Another Reason for Sriharikota’s Appeal
One of the reasons for choosing Sriharikota as a launch site is its island status, connected to Andhra Pradesh with seas on both sides. This geographical advantage ensures that rocket debris falls directly into the sea. Additionally, it allows for diverting rockets toward the sea in case of mission threats. Sriharikota’s consistent weather, except during the rainy season, further adds to its suitability as a launch site, making it ISRO’s preferred choice for rocket launches.
Aditya-L1 mission represents a significant milestone for India’s space exploration efforts, with its focus on studying the Sun from the advantageous vantage point of the L1 position. This mission is a testament to India’s capability to undertake cutting-edge space research and develop sophisticated payloads.
As Aditya L-1 embarks on its journey towards the L1 point, it will not only contribute to our understanding of the Sun’s various layers but also provide valuable insights into solar activity and its impact on Earth’s climate and technology.
The launch from Sriharikota, with its strategic location and favorable geographic features, underscores ISRO’s commitment to cost-effective and reliable space missions. It ensures that India remains at the forefront of space exploration and satellite deployment while minimizing risks to inhabited areas.
The Aditya-L1 mission promises to yield a wealth of scientific data and findings that will benefit not only the scientific community but also various sectors relying on space-based technology. It marks a significant step in India’s ongoing efforts to expand its presence in space research and exploration.
As we eagerly await the successful launch and deployment of Aditya L-1, the world looks forward to the valuable insights it will provide about our nearest star, the Sun, and its influence on our planet and beyond.