India’s pioneering space agency, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), is set to make history with the launch of its first-ever solar exploration mission today, on September 2. Named Aditya-L1, this mission is dedicated to unraveling the mysteries of our nearest star, the Sun.
Aditya-L1, transported by ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C57, will embark on a 125-day journey toward the Sun. The PSLV, developed and operated by ISRO, serves as the reliable launch vehicle for this ambitious mission. It’s important to note that Aditya-L1 will not directly approach or get closer to the Sun’s surface; instead, its primary objective is to investigate the Sun’s outermost layers and atmosphere.
The mission’s name, “Aditya-L1,” signifies its specific location – Lagrange Point 1 (L1) – within the Sun-Earth system. Lagrange Points are unique positions where the gravitational forces of two celestial bodies, in this case, the Sun and Earth, are perfectly balanced. In the space region between Earth and the Sun, five such Lagrange Points exist. Aditya-L1’s mission revolves around precisely positioning the satellite at Lagrange Point 1 (L1) to carry out its scientific investigations.
Following its launch from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on September 2, 2023, Aditya-L1 will spend 16 days in Earth-bound orbits. During this period, a series of five carefully planned maneuvers will be executed to attain the required velocity for the upcoming phase of the mission.
Aditya-L1 is equipped with seven distinct payloads, all of which are domestically developed. These specialized instruments are tailored for observing various aspects of the Sun, including the photosphere, chromosphere, and the outermost layers known as the corona. To achieve this, they will utilize electromagnetic and particle detectors.
This array of advanced payloads aboard Aditya-L1 is poised to provide invaluable data essential for unraveling a multitude of solar phenomena. These include perplexing phenomena like coronal heating, Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs), pre-flare and flare activities, each with its unique characteristics, as well as insights into the dynamics of space weather, among other significant scientific discoveries.