India’s first solar space observatory, Aditya-L1, is now on its way to the Sun-Earth Lagrange Point-1 (L1), which is about 1.5 million kilometers from Earth. The Aditya-L1 mission has been going smoothly and is expected to achieve another amazing achievement for Indian and ISRO scientists. But before reaching its destination, ISRO had to make a slight adjustment in the trajectory of the Aditya-L1 mission spacecraft.
Recently, the Aditya-L1 mission spacecraft performed a trajectory correction maneuver (TCM) on October 6. This maneuver was necessary to ensure that Aditya-L1 remained on the correct course after a previous operation called Trans-Lagrangian Point 1 Insertion (TL1I). which occurred on September 19, 2023.
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Aditya-L1 Mission: Journey So Far
The TCM was a quick 16-second move that ensured that Aditya-L1 was heading in the right direction towards its orbit around L1. The spacecraft is in good condition and its magnetometer will soon be turned back on.
A few days ago, on September 30, Aditya-L1 successfully moved more than 9.2 lakh kilometers from Earth, escaping Earth’s influence. This achievement marked the second time that ISRO sent a spacecraft beyond the influence of Earth, the first being the Mars Orbiter Mission.
Aditya-L1 has traveled more than 10 lakh kilometers in space and is expected to reach Lagrange Point 1 in the first week of January, according to mission project director Nigar Shaji.
Explaining the importance of Lagrange Point 1, Nigar told Aaj Tak: “We are going to L1 for the first time. It is an imaginary point where the gravitational attraction of the Sun and the Earth balances. The spacecraft needs to balance the attraction of the Sun and the Earth, which is a real challenge. It’s like balancing a ball on the top of a hill.”
Aditya-L1 Mission: Objectives
The goal of the mission is to study the Sun up close. Dr. Annapurni Subramaniam, Director of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, highlighted the importance of this mission. They plan to study the behavior of the Sun, coronal mass ejections, coronal heating, and the temperature difference between the surface and the corona.
Dr. Subramaniam also noted that the Sun’s solar wind has a significant impact on our planet, so understanding the factors that affect it is crucial.
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