The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is on the verge of launching its inaugural space mission aimed at studying the Sun, known as Aditya L-1. The launch is scheduled to take place on Saturday, September 2, at 11:50 am from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. This launch comes shortly after ISRO’s remarkable achievement of successfully soft-landing a spacecraft near the Moon’s south pole just ten days ago.
Here’s a comprehensive overview of ISRO’s Aditya-L1 mission:
**Launch and Transport:**
The Aditya L-1 solar probe will embark on its space journey using the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) in the ‘XL’ configuration. The PSLV is renowned as one of ISRO’s most dependable and versatile rockets, having previously been employed in missions like Chandrayaan-1 in 2008 and Mangalyaan in 2013. The ‘XL’ variant of the PSLV is equipped with six extended strap-on boosters, making it the most powerful configuration capable of carrying heavier payloads.
PSLV-XL can transport payloads weighing up to 1,750 kg to a sun-synchronous polar orbit, where spacecraft maintain a fixed position relative to the Sun. Furthermore, it can accommodate significantly heavier payloads of up to 3,800 kg for placement in lower Earth orbits, typically located at altitudes below 1,000 km (with the potential to go as low as 160 km). Given that the Aditya L-1 has a weight of 1,472 kg, it will be launched using the PSLV.
Initially, the PSLV will position the Aditya L-1 in a lower Earth orbit. Subsequently, the spacecraft’s orbit and velocity around Earth will be incrementally increased through onboard propulsion until it is directed towards the Sun.
The ultimate destination for the Aditya L-1 is a halo orbit situated around Lagrange point 1 (L1) within the Sun-Earth system. This L1 point is located approximately 1.5 million km from Earth. Named after the rising Sun, the Aditya L-1 will undertake its journey to the L1 point over a period of approximately four months.
**Payload and Objectives:**
The Aditya L-1 mission will carry seven specialized payloads designed for the observation and study of solar activities. These payloads are equipped to operate for a duration of five years, during which they will collect invaluable data on various aspects of the Sun.
ISRO’s Aditya-L1 mission signifies a significant advancement in our comprehension of the Sun and its impacts on Earth.