Aditya L1 Mission: Maiden Solar Mission by ISRO – Key Details

aditya l1 mission

Aditya – L1, or the First Indian mission to study the sun, is a joint venture of ISRO Satellite Centre and several physicists from Indian institutes. It is slated to be launched by a PSLV-XL rocket, allowing scientists to get close-up images of the sun’s magnetic field from space.

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About Aditya L1 Mission

The Aditya L1 Mission to study the solar atmosphere is India’s first space mission. The project has been accepted, and according to ISRO, the satellite would be launched by PSLV-XL from Sriharikota between 2019 and 2020. Having been postponed from early 2020 due to the COVID-19 epidemic, the launch of India’s first solar mission is expected for 2022’s third quarter. The mission is intended to study the properties of the Sun, including coronal mass ejections. The spacecraft will carry seven payloads to study the Sun’s outermost layers and observe the solar atmosphere and study magnetic field strength variations. Additionally, particle payloads will study the sun’s particle flux. It will be India’s very first mission to reach the sun.

Note: Expected Aditya L1 launch date is January 2023. (source Wikipedia)

This scientific expedition is expected to insert its solar lander into a halo orbit about 1.5 million km from Earth, which is one-hundredth of the distance to the Sun. This orbit will enable the mission to capture continuous observations of the Sun. NASA’s Parker Solar Probe has already gone this close, but it is also looking away from the Sun. A joint effort between West Germany and NASA, Helios 2, flew within 43 million km of the Sun’s surface in 1976.

Below is a list of payloads being used for this maiden mission to study the Sun:

  1. High Energy L1 Orbiting X-ray Spectrometer (HEL1OS)
  2. Solar Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (SUIT)
  3. Solar Low Energy X-ray Spectrometer (SoLEXS)
  4. Visible Emission Line Coronagraph (VELC)
  5. Magnetometer Payload
  6. Plasma Analyser Package for Aditya
  7. Aditya Solar wind Particle Experiment (ASPEX)

Objectives Of The Aditya L-1 Mission

The Aditya-L1 first Indian mission will be the first spacecraft from India to research the solar corona. The mission is designed to collect data from the first Lagrangian point, L1, located about 1.5 million kilometers from Earth. This point is known as the halo orbit because it is gravitationally curved around other Lagrangian points that will enable the mission to observe and examine the Sun without the obstruction of any celestial event. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched Chandrayaan 2 in mid-July, 2019. The Aditya-L1 mission is expected to launch sometime in the third quarter of 2022. 

The main objective of the Aditya-1 mission is to study the sun’s corona, chromosphere, photosphere, and solar emissions. The mission will also study the onset and propagation of solar storms, coronal heating, and Coronal Mass Ejections. Aditya L1 is expecting to remain much farther away than in previous missions. The data it collects will allow scientists to gain a comprehensive understanding of how the Sun works.

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From Aditya 1 To Aditya L1 – The Story Behind It

India’s first solar space mission, the Aditya -1 mission, was initially christened Aditya-1.

The sole purpose of the Aditya-1 mission is to observe and understand the sun’s corona. There is still no clear explanation in solar physics for how the corona is heated to such extreme temperatures.

It was supposed to launch into a low-earth orbit, 800 kilometers above the Earth’s surface, but the revised plan will place it in a halo orbit around Lagrangian point 1, which will allow for continuous observations of the Sun (i.e. L1 would be more favorable for capturing the sun’s corona). That is why when ISRO realized the benefits of a halo orbit, it revised the mission’s name to Aditya L1 to include this aspect. L1 is one of the 5 Lagrangian/Lagrange points inside the Earth-Sun system’s orbital plane.

PSLV-XL Launch Vehicle Was Used To Launch Aditya L1 

ISRO’s Aditya-L1 Mission was originally intended for 400kg class satellites to study the solar corona. The corona is the hot, gaseous atmosphere of the sun. Scientists are working to understand its temperature, which is higher than the solar disc.

The Indian space agency has used the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) in XL configuration, according to ISRO.

Solar Missions From Other Countries

Aside from the Indian Space Research Organisation’s Aditya L1 Mission, which is exclusively dedicated to monitoring the sun, there are many other countries with programs of a similar type. Below are the names of a few such missions:

  1. NASA’s Helios 2
  2. NASA’s Parker Solar Probe
  3. Japan’s Solar-C EUVST
  4. NASA’s Living With a Star
  5. NASA’s EZEI Mission

Conclusion

ISRO’s Aditya-L1 solar research mission will be an important step in the country’s exploration of our Sun-Earth system. Its primary objective is to observe, study and understand the sun’s properties, including coronal mass ejections, and to investigate the origin and dynamics of solar storms. This mission will also be carrying out round-the-clock imaging of the Sun.

India’s Aditya-L1 mission will fly India’s political concerns to the center of the solar system. India took another step towards achieving its goal of setting up a solar observatory in space.

Q1. What Are Langrangian/Lagrange Points?

Named after Italian-French Mathematician, Josephy-Louis Lagrange, these are points in space with enhanced gravitational forces resulting from a two-body system pulling together in space. L1 is one of the 5 points in the Sun-Earth system’s orbital plane. These 5 points can be used for a satellite or spacecraft that needs to be in a fixed position with reduced fuel consumption.

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