Aditya-L1: India successfully launches its maiden mission to the Sun


Aditya-L1: India has launched its first solar observation mission, just days after becoming the first country to land near the Moon’s south pole.

Aditya-L1
On Saturday morning, India’s first Sun mission lifted off from the launch pad at Sriharikota.

 

At 11:50 a.m. India time (06:20 GMT), Aditya-L1 blasted off from the Sriharikota launch site.

It will travel 1.5 million kilometres (932,000 miles) from Earth, accounting for 1% of the Earth-Sun distance.

According to India’s space agency(ISRO), the journey will take four months.

Surya, the Hindu god of the Sun, also known as Aditya, is the name of India’s first space-based mission to explore the solar system’s largest object. And L1 stands for Lagrange point 1, the precise location between the Sun and Earth to which the Indian spacecraft is in route.

A Lagrange point, according to the European Space Agency, is a location where the gravitational influences of two big objects, such as the Sun and the Earth, cancel each other out, allowing a spacecraft to “hover.”

Aditya-L1 will be able to orbit the Sun at the same rate as the Earth once it reaches this “parking spot.” This also means that the satellite will use relatively little fuel to function.

A few thousand people gathered in the viewing gallery built up by the Indian Space Research Agency (ISRO) near the launch site on Saturday morning to observe the launch.

It was also shown live on national television, with pundits calling it a “magnificent” debut. According to ISRO experts, the launch was successful and its “performance is normal.”

ISRO deemed it “mission successful” after an hour and four minutes of flying time.

“Now it will continue on its journey – it’s a very long journey of 135 days, let’s wish it [the] best of luck,” said ISRO chief Sreedhara Panicker Somanath.

Aditya-L1 will help not only India, but the global scientific community, according to project director Nigar Shaji.

Aditya-L1 will now orbit the Earth numerous times before being launched towards L1.

It will be able to observe the Sun continuously, even when it is obscured by an eclipse, and conduct scientific research from this vantage point.

ISRO has not stated how much the mission will cost, however reports in the Indian press put the figure at 3.78 billion rupees ($46 million; £36 million).

The Aditya L-1 mission trajectory

According to Isro, the orbiter will carry seven scientific instruments to view and study the solar corona (the outermost layer), the photosphere (the Sun’s surface or the part visible from Earth), and the chromosphere (a thin layer of plasma between the photosphere and the corona).

The research will aid scientists in understanding solar activity, such as solar wind and solar flares, and their real-time effects on Earth and near-space weather.

According to Mylswamy Annadurai, a former ISRO scientist, the Sun constantly influences the Earth’s weather through radiation, heat, and the passage of particles and magnetic fields. At the same time, he claims, it has an effect on space weather.

“Space weather has an impact on how well satellites work. Solar winds or storms can damage satellite equipment and possibly bring down power infrastructures. However, there remain gaps in our understanding of space weather,”  Annadurai said.

India has more than 50 satellites in orbit, which provide numerous critical services to the country, such as communication linkages, weather data, and forecasting pest infestations, droughts, and imminent disasters. The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) estimates that roughly 10,290 satellites remain in Earth’s orbit, with nearly 7,800 of them currently operational.

Mr Annadurai believes Aditya will help us better comprehend, and possibly forewarn us, about the star on which our lives depend.

“Knowing about the Sun’s activities, such as solar wind or a solar eruption, a couple of days ahead of time will help us move our satellites out of harm’s way.” This will help to extend the life of our satellites in space.”

He goes on to say that the expedition will help us better understand the Sun, the 4.5 billion-year-old star that holds our solar system together.

India’s solar mission follows the successful landing of the world’s first probe near the lunar south pole.

After the United States, the former Soviet Union, and China, India became only the fourth country in the world to achieve a soft landing on the Moon.

If Aditya-L1 is successful, India will join a small number of countries that are already conducting research on the Sun.

Japan was the first to send a mission to research solar flares in 1981, and NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) have been monitoring the Sun since the 1990s.

Also Read: India’s Chandrayaan-3 makes history to become 1st country to land near Lunar South Pole region


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