ISRO’s Solar Mission Aditya-L1 Hits Another Milestone with Second Maneuver
India’s first solar mission, Aditya-L1, has successfully completed its second earth-bound maneuver on Tuesday, September 5, 2023, bringing it closer to its final destination of a halo orbit around the Sun-Earth Lagrangian point 1 (L1). The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) announced the achievement on its official Twitter account and website.
The second earth-bound maneuver was performed from the Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network in Bengaluru, with the assistance of ISRO’s ground stations in Mauritius, Bengaluru and Port Blair. The maneuver involved firing the spacecraft’s thrusters for about 10 minutes to raise its apogee (farthest point from Earth) from 37,900 km to 40,225 km. The new orbit attained by Aditya-L1 is 282 km x 40,225 km.
The next maneuver is scheduled for September 10, around 2:30 am IST. The spacecraft will undergo a total of five earth-bound maneuvers before reaching the L1 point, which is about 1.5 million km from Earth in the direction of the Sun. The journey is expected to take about four months.
Aditya-L1 is India’s answer to NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, which was launched in 2018 and has been making close flybys of the Sun. Unlike Parker, which aims to touch the Sun’s outer atmosphere or corona, Aditya-L1 will stay at a safe distance and observe the Sun continuously without any interruptions from eclipses or occultations.
Aditya-L1 carries seven scientific instruments that will study various aspects of the Sun, such as its corona, solar wind, magnetic field, flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs). The data collected by the spacecraft will help unravel the mysteries of solar physics and improve our understanding of space weather and its effects on Earth.
Aditya-L1 is ISRO’s second space-based astronomy mission after AstroSat, which was launched in 2015 and has been observing various celestial objects in different wavelengths. Aditya-L1 is also part of ISRO’s ambitious plan to explore the solar system, which includes missions to Mars, Venus, Moon and asteroids.