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Mission to Study Sun: Aditya-L1 to Reach Desired Destination Today After 127 Days of Maneuvering

Aditya-L1, India’s inaugural space-based observatory dedicated to solar research, is set to reach its final orbit today after a 127-day journey. Launched on September 2, 2023, via the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C57), Aditya-L1 aims to study the Sun from a halo orbit around the first Sun-Earth Lagrangian point (L1) for the next five years.

The critical challenge faced by the spacecraft is to enter and maintain an orbit around L1, one of the five positions in the Earth-Sun system where gravitational forces balance, creating a relatively stable point for observational missions. Unlike orbits around other planetary bodies, the L1 orbit involves three dimensions, influenced by the gravitational effects of both the Sun and Earth. Maintaining stability in this orbit requires continuous adjustments due to the constant pulling and pushing from these celestial bodies.

Lagrange Points, including L1, are stable locations in space preferred for solar observation missions. Aditya-L1, stationed at L1, will provide an uninterrupted view of the Sun, access solar radiation and magnetic storms before Earth’s influence, and minimize the need for frequent orbital adjustments, optimizing operational efficiency.





Aditya-L1 gets send off from Earth as ISRO performs key manoeuvre - The  Hindu BusinessLine
Aditya-L1 gets send off from Earth as ISRO performs key manoeuvre

The strategic placement ensures Aditya-L1 remains approximately 1.5 million km away from Earth, directed towards the Sun, representing about 1% of the Earth-Sun distance. The spacecraft will study the outer atmosphere of the Sun, with no plans to land on or approach the Sun closer.

Aditya-L1 carries seven payloads designed to provide crucial information on various solar phenomena, including coronal heating, Coronal Mass Ejections, pre-flare and flare activities, characteristics of space weather dynamics, particle propagation, and interplanetary medium fields.

The spacecraft’s journey involved earth-bound orbital maneuvers before entering the transfer orbit towards L1 on September 19, 2023. A trajectory correction maneuver on October 6, 2023, ensured Aditya-L1 remained on course for L1. The spacecraft will spend its mission life orbiting around L1 in an irregularly-shaped orbit perpendicular to the Earth-Sun line.

The mission is significant for India’s space exploration efforts, marking its first dedicated solar observation mission. Aditya-L1’s successful establishment in its final orbit will contribute valuable data to enhance our understanding of solar phenomena and advance space-based observational capabilities.

Deep space missions like Aditya-L1, covering distances of millions of kilometers, require meticulous trajectory planning, incorporating orbit determination calculations and trajectory correction maneuvers to ensure precise navigation.

Aditya-L1’s pioneering mission aligns with India’s commitment to advancing space research and underscores its growing capabilities in space exploration. As it embarks on its solar observation mission, Aditya-L1 represents a notable achievement in India’s space endeavors and contributes to the global scientific understanding of our Sun.

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