The Aditya-L1 spacecraft was finally launched today, September 2, 2023, at 11.50 AM from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR (SDSC-SHAR), Sriharikota. The spacecraft is now in good condition and is on its way towards the Sun-Earth system of Lagrange point (L1). The planned location is over 1.5 million km from the Earth and it will take about 125 days to reach the halo orbit. Know how the spacecraft will move towards the Sun.
Aditya-L1: Journey to the Sun
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched the PSLV XL rocket as part of the Aditya-L1 mission. The rocket consists of seven payloads, which will be utilized to study the Sun’s activities. As per reports, four of the payloads will study the light from the sun and the other three will measure plasma and magnetic field parameters in situ.
The satellite will be placed on the Lagrange point (L1) of the Sun-Earth system. Originally it consists of five Lagrange points which are known as L1, L2, L3, L4, and L5. ISRO reports that the distance of L1 from Earth is approximately 1% of the Earth-Sun distance.
During the spacecraft’s trajectory towards L1, it will first exit the Earth’s gravitational pull which is called the Sphere of Influence (SOI). Then the spacecraft will transition into the cruise phase and eventually be placed into a large halo orbit around L1. The entire trip from launch to L1 is expected to last around four months for Aditya-L1.
The spacecraft has been finally launched and has completed the first three stages of separation. Now the fourth and final separation will be conducted which will allow the satellite to move towards the planned location from where the mission to study the Sun will begin.
The mission aims to get a deeper understanding of the Sun’s chromospheric and coronal heating, the physics of the partially ionized plasma, the formation of the coronal mass ejections, and solar flares. It will study different layers including the outermost layer of the Sun. Additionally, it plans to study the formation and composition of solar wind and space weather.