Previously, the satellite completed its second earth-bound maneuver on September 5, achieving an orbit of 282 km x 40,225 km, while the first was performed on September 3.
New Delhi: India’s maiden solar mission – Aditya L1 – successfully executed its third earth-bound maneuver in the early hours of Sunday, as confirmed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). As a result, the satellite has now reached a new orbit measuring 296 km x 71,767 km. Aditya-L1 is set to perform a total of five orbit maneuvers during its journey around Earth, of which three have been successfully completed. The next maneuver (EBN#4) is scheduled for September 15, 2023, around 02:00 Hrs (IST). Previously, the satellite completed its second earth-bound maneuver on September 5, achieving an orbit of 282 km x 40,225 km, while the first was performed on September 3.
ISRO took to X (formerly Twitter) and informed about the major development regarding the ambitious mission. “The third Earth-bound manoeuvre (EBN#3) is performed successfully from ISTRAC, Bengaluru. ISRO’s ground stations at Mauritius, Bengaluru, SDSC-SHAR and Port Blair tracked the satellite during this operation. The new orbit attained is 296 km x 71767 km,” the Indian space agency tweeted.
The third Earth-bound maneuvre (EBN#3) is performed successfully from ISTRAC, Bengaluru.
ISRO’s ground stations at Mauritius, Bengaluru, SDSC-SHAR and Port Blair tracked the satellite during this operation.
The new orbit attained is 296 km x 71767 km.… pic.twitter.com/r9a8xwQ4My
— ISRO (@isro) September 9, 2023
India’s Maiden Solar Mission
After making history with the landing of Chandrayaan-3 near the South pole of the moon, ISRO launched India’s first solar mission, Aditya-L1, from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on September 2. The satellite carries seven payloads that will conduct a detailed study of the sun. Out of these seven payloads, four will observe the light from the sun, while the other three will measure in-situ parameters of the plasma and magnetic fields.
Once it reaches its destination, which is 1.5 million km away from Earth, Aditya-L1 will be placed in a halo orbit around Lagrangian Point 1 (L1).
It is projected to complete the journey in four months. Aditya-L1 will orbit at a distance of approximately 1.5 million kilometres from Earth, facing the Sun, which is about 1 percent of the Earth-Sun distance. The Sun, a massive sphere of gas, will be the subject of study for Aditya-L1, particularly focusing on its outer atmosphere.
ISRO already cleared that Aditya-L1 will neither land on the sun nor approach the star any closer.
Named after the Italian-French mathematician Joseph-Louis Lagrange, there exist five Lagrange points between Earth and the Sun, where a small object remains stationary if placed there. At these points, the gravitational forces of Earth and the Sun balance the centripetal force required for a small object to move with them.
To reach the Lagrange L1 point, the spacecraft will be launched using onboard propulsion. This launch will allow it to escape Earth’s gravitational influence and proceed toward the L1 point. Subsequently, it will be inserted into a large Halo Orbit around the L1 point, which is close to the Sun. The Aditya-L1 Mission, ISRO stated, will take approximately four months from launch to reaching the L1 point.
The rationale behind studying the Sun, according to ISRO, is that it emits radiation across a broad spectrum of wavelengths, along with various energetic particles and magnetic fields. Earth’s atmosphere and its magnetic field serve as protective shields, blocking harmful radiation wavelengths. To detect such radiation, solar studies are conducted from space.
The primary objectives of the mission include understanding Coronal Heating and Solar Wind Acceleration, the initiation of Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs), near-Earth space weather, and the distribution of the solar wind.