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India's maiden solar mission Aditya-L1 launched from Sriharikota

Aditya-L1 is the first space-based observatory class to study the sun and was fired using ISRO's reliable Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).

India's maiden solar mission Aditya-L1 launched from Sriharikota

Saturday September 02, 2023 , 3 min Read

The Aditya-L1 spacecraft, onboard a PSLV rocket on Saturday, was successfully separated and would proceed on its journey towards the sun on a 125-day voyage, said the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

ISRO chief S Somanath said the spacecraft was injected in the "precise orbit".

ISRO launched India's maiden solar mission, Aditya-L1, from the spaceport in Sriharikota.

"Aditya-L1 spacecraft has been injected in an elliptical orbit of 235 by 19,500 km which is intended, very precisely by the PSLV," Somnath said.

"From now on Aditya-L1 will go on a long journey for 125 days" towards the sun, he said from the mission control centre. He was joined by Union Minister Jitendra Singh, Project Director Nigar Shaji, and Mission Director Biju.

Shaji said the spacecraft was injected into the orbit flawlessly by the PSLV "as always," and the solar panels are deployed.

"Aditya-L1 has started 125 days of long journey to the sun," she said.

Union Minister Singh described today's achievement as a "sunshine moment" and thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the support to the space sector.

"Our tireless scientific efforts will continue in order to develop better understanding of the universe for the welfare of entire humanity," PM Modi said on Twitter.

Aditya-L1's journey

The sun is a giant sphere of gas and Aditya-L1 would study its outer atmosphere.

Aditya-L1 will neither land on the sun nor approach it any closer, ISRO said. It is expected to travel for about 125 days to reach the Halo orbit around the Lagrangian Point L1, which is considered closest to the sun.

Aditya-L1, weighing about 1,480.7 kg, is the first space-based observatory class to study the sun.

The objectives of the mission includes study of the coronal heating, solar wind acceleration, coronal mass ejections, dynamics of solar atmosphere, and temperature anisotropy.

Following Saturday's launch, Aditya-L1 will stay in earth-bound orbits for 16 days, during which it will undergo five manoeuvres to gain the necessary velocity for its journey towards the sun.

Subsequently, the spacecraft will undergo a trans-Lagrangian 1 insertion manoeuvre, marking the beginning of its 110-day trajectory to the destination around the L1 Lagrange point.

Upon arrival at L1, another manoeuvre will bind Aditya-L1 to an orbit around the point, which is a balanced gravitational location between the earth and the sun.

The spacecraft will spend its whole mission life of five years orbiting around L1 in an irregularly shaped orbit, in a plane roughly perpendicular to the line joining the earth and the sun, ISRO said.

The strategic placement at the L1 Lagrange point ensures the spacecraft can maintain a constant, uninterrupted view of the sun. This location also allows the satellite to access solar radiation and magnetic storms before they are influenced by the earth's magnetic field and atmosphere, the space agency said.

Additionally, L1 point's gravitational stability will minimise the need for frequent orbital maintenance efforts, optimising the spacecraft's operational efficiency.

Aditya-L1 will stay approximately 1.5 million km away from the earth, directed towards the sun, which is about 1% of the earth-sun distance.

The PSLV C57 is the 59th flight of the launch vehicle, a trusted workhorse of ISRO and is the 25th mission using PSLV-XL configuration, ISRO said.

The sun expedition comes close on the heels of ISRO's successful moon mission, Chandrayaan-3, which has been in the limelight since its successful landing on the moon on August 23.

(This story was updated with more information and edits from YourStory.)

Edited by Swetha Kannan