Bengaluru (Karnataka): India’s pioneering solar mission, Aditya L1, has reached another milestone by successfully completing its third earth-bound manoeuvre, as confirmed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Sunday. ISRO reported, “The third Earth-bound manoeuvre (EBN#3) is performed successfully from ISTRAC, Bengaluru. ISRO’s ground stations at Mauritius, Bengaluru, SDSC-SHAR, and Port Blair tracked the satellite during this operation. The new orbit attained is 296 km x 71767 km,” as stated in a post on ‘X’.
ISRO further noted, “The next manoeuvre (EBN#4) is scheduled for September 15, 2023, around 02:00 Hrs. IST.” This achievement comes after Aditya L1 performed its second earth-bound manoeuvre on September 5, reaching an orbit of 282 km x 40225 km.
Following the successful landing of Chandrayaan-3 near the South pole of the moon, ISRO embarked on India’s maiden solar mission, Aditya-L1, which was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on September 2. Aditya-L1 is equipped with seven distinct payloads designed for an in-depth study of the Sun. Four of these payloads will observe solar light, while the other three will measure in-situ parameters of plasma and magnetic fields.
Aditya-L1 is destined to be placed in a halo orbit around Lagrangian Point 1 (L1), situated 1.5 million km away from Earth in the direction of the sun. It is expected to cover this distance within four months.
Notably, Aditya-L1 will remain approximately 1.5 million km from Earth, constantly facing the Sun, which is approximately 1 percent of the Earth-Sun distance. It’s vital to clarify that Aditya-L1 will neither land on the Sun nor approach it any closer. This strategic location will enable continuous observation of the Sun without being obstructed by eclipses or occultations, facilitating real-time study of solar activities and their impact on space weather.
The data collected by the spacecraft will contribute to understanding the sequence of processes leading to solar eruptive events and enhance our knowledge of space weather drivers. Key objectives of India’s solar mission encompass studying the physics of solar corona and its heating mechanism, solar wind acceleration, dynamics of the solar atmosphere, solar wind distribution, temperature anisotropy, and the origins of Coronal Mass Ejections (CME) and solar flares, as well as near-earth space weather.
Aditya-L1 stands as a dedicated satellite aimed at conducting a comprehensive study of the Sun, unveiling previously unknown aspects of our solar system’s central star. The satellite will continue on Earth-bound orbits for 16 days, undergoing five manoeuvres to gain the required velocity for reaching its destination. Subsequently, Aditya-L1 will engage in a trans-Lagrangian1 insertion manoeuvre, which will span 110 days, covering a distance of approximately 15 million kilometres to reach the L1 point. Upon reaching L1, another manoeuvre will secure Aditya-L1 in a stable orbit around L1, a gravitational midpoint between the Earth and the Sun, according to information available on ISRO’s official website.