India’s Solar Mission Aditya-L-1: Another Success Story in Space

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After the success of Chandrayan-3, The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) successfully launched India’s first solar observatory Aditya-L1 on September 2, 2023 for comprehensive study of the Sun, a mission which most of the space exploring countries have not dared to launch. ADITYA-L1 is the first Indian mission dedicated to observing the Sun

 

ISRO’s Aditya L1 Mission marks a significant milestone for ISRO and India's space exploration efforts, contributing valuable data to the understanding of the Sun and its effects on Earth

 

Aditya-L1 Mission is very important GD topic in final selection round of top MBA colleges and various Class one and Class two services. As such it is very important that you should know all about ISRO’s Aditya L1 Mission and its importance, pros and cons to form your opinion before you present your views in Group Discussion. 

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What is India's Aditya-L1 Sun Mission

It is very interesting to know What is India's Aditya-L1 Sun Mission which was launched immediately after Chandarayan-3. Aditya-L1 is a satellite dedicated to the comprehensive study of the Sun. It has 7 distinct payloads developed, all developed indigenously - 5 by ISRO and 2 by Indian academic institutes in collaboration with ISRO.

 

Aditya in Sanskrit means the Sun. L1 here refers to Lagrange Point 1 of the Sun-Earth system. For common understanding, L1 is a location in space where the gravitational forces of two celestial bodies, such as the Sun and Earth, are in equilibrium. This allows an object placed there to remain relatively stable with respect to both celestial bodies. 

ADITYA-L1: Background

Aditya was conceptualised in January 2008 by the Advisory Committee for Space Sciences (ADCOS). Aditya L1 solar mission was initially envisaged as a small 400 kg (880 lb) satellite in a Low Earth Orbit (800 Km) with a coronagraph to study the solar corona. An experimental budget of Rs.3 crore was allocated for the financial year 2016–2017. ISRO’s Aditya L1 Mission scope has since been expanded and it became a comprehensive solar and space environment observatory to be placed at Lagrange point L1. As such, India’s Mission Sun was renamed "Aditya-L1". As on July 2019, the mission had an allocated cost of Rs.378 crores excluding launch costs which has gone up marginally with actual launch at Rs.400 Crores and is less than a Hollywood Movie.

How and When Aditya L1 solar mission was Launched

Aditya L1 in space is the Mission Sun.  ISRO’s Aditya L1 Mission was being planned for past many years but could not be launched earlier as even before getting named ADITYA-L1, the mission Sun required more foolproof study of solar environment before the launch. 

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 ISRO’s Aditya L1 Mission  began its journey on September 2. ISRO's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C57)  successfully launched the ADITYA-L1 spacecraft from the Second Launch Pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), Sriharikota. Since then, ADITYA-L1  has successfully performed four earth-bound maneuvers.

What is L-1 in ADITYA-L1 Solar Mission

There are five parking areas known as Lagrangian points between the Earth and the Sun. A small object, if put there, tends to stay. The Lagrange Points are named after Italian-French mathematician Joseph-Louis Lagrange for his prize-winning paper -- "Essai sur le Probleme des Trois Corps, 1772.” These points in space can be used by spacecraft to remain there with reduced fuel consumption.

 

At a Lagrange point, the gravitational pull of the two large bodies -the Sun and the Earth, equals the necessary centripetal force required for a small object to move with them.

aditya l1

Aditya-L1 Mission: Key Facts

Aditya-L1 will stay approximately 1.5 million km away from Earth. It will remain directed towards the Sun, which is about 1% of the Earth-Sun distance. The Sun is a giant sphere of gas and Aditya-L1 would study the outer atmosphere of the Sun.

 

Aditya-L1 will neither land on the Sun nor approach the Sun any closer.

Aditya-L1 Mission: Timelines

The Aditya-L1 mission will take around 109 Earth days from the launch date to reach the halo orbit around the L1 point, which is about 1,500,000 km from Earth. The spacecraft is planned to remain in the halo orbit for its mission duration.  The 1,500 kg (3,300 lb) satellite carries seven science payloads with various objectives, including instruments to measure coronal heating, solar wind acceleration, coronal magnetometry, origin and monitoring of near-UV solar radiation (which drives Earth's upper atmospheric dynamics and global climate). ADITYA-L1 has conducted 4 maneuvres and on Sept 19, 2023 it conducts, Trans-Lagrangian 1 Injection as per following schedule and time lines:

Stage and Sequence
Date/Time
Time (IST)
Periapsis
Apoapsis
Orbital Period
Earth Orbit Insertion
2 September 2023
12:54 p.m
235 km (146 mi)
19,500 km (12,100 mi)
22 hours, 46 minutes
Earth Bound Maneuver 1
3 September 2023
11:40 a.m.
245 km (152 mi)
22,459 km (13,955 mi)
39 hours, 20 minutes
Earth Bound Maneuver 2
5 September 2023
3:00 a.m
282 km (175 mi)
40,225 km (24,995 mi)
4 days, 23 hours and 30 minutes
Earth Bound Maneuver 3
10 September 2023
2:30 am
296 km (184 mi)
71,767 km (44,594 mi)
4 days, 23 hours and 45 minutes
Earth Bound Maneuver 4
15 September 2023
2:15 am
256 km (159 mi)
121,973 km (75,791 mi)
 
Trans-Lagrangian 1 Injection
19 September 2023
2:00 am
 
 
 

Source: Wikipedia

aditya l1

Source: ISRO’s Aditya L1 Mission 

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How ADITYA-L1 is Designed to Perform after Launch

ISRO’s Aditya L1 Mission is moving ahead doing maneuvres as per the schedule.

  • Following its launch on September 2, 2023, ADITYA-L1 stays Earth-bound orbits for 16 days, during which it is designed to undergo 5 maneuvres to gain the necessary velocity for its journey.
  • After this, Aditya-L1 undergoes a Trans-Lagrangian1 insertion maneuvre, marking the beginning of its 110-day trajectory to the destination around the L1 Lagrange point.
  • Upon arrival at the L1 point, another maneuvre binds Aditya-L1 to an orbit around L1, a balanced gravitational location between the Earth and the Sun.
  • The satellite will spend its whole mission life orbiting around L1 in an irregularly shaped orbit in a plane roughly perpendicular to the line joining the Earth and the Sun.
  • ISRO's ground stations at Mauritius, Bengaluru, SDSC-SHAR and Port Blair tracked the satellite during the launch and post launch operation. A transportable terminal currently stationed in the Fiji islands for Aditya-L1 will support post-burn operations.

Aditya-L1 Mission Benefits for India

The Aditya L1 mission will not only benefit the nation with advanced knowledge of solar activities and sun structure but also help in efforts to protect space assets. It is important that Indian space capability be at forefront so that India can be a part of the very few nations that conduct advanced studies on Sun - and even contribute to defining those early-decisions, policies that humanity will take for Space activities in the international arena. The Aditya-L1 Mission Benefits for India are: