Mon. Oct 2nd, 2023
India’s Aditya-L1 Solar Observatory Completes Third Earth-Bound Manoeuvre

On September 2, India’s Aditya-L1, the country’s first solar space observatory mission, was launched. On Sunday, the Isro Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (Istrac) successfully carried out the spacecraft’s third Earth-bound manoeuvre. The operation, which took place at 2:30 am, was tracked by ground stations in Mauritius, Bengaluru, SDSC-SHAR (Sriharikota), and Port Blair.

Currently, Aditya-L1 is in an orbit of 296km x 71,767km. The next Earth-bound manoeuvre is scheduled for September 15 at 2 am. After this manoeuvre, there will be two more, which will provide the necessary velocity for the spacecraft to reach its destination, L1.

L1 is a point located approximately 1.5 million kilometers from Earth, where the gravitational forces of the Sun and Earth are in equilibrium. Once Aditya-L1 arrives at L1, it will be bound to an orbit around it. The spacecraft will spend its mission life orbiting around L1 in an irregularly shaped orbit. This orbit will be in a plane perpendicular to the line joining the Earth and the Sun.

Aditya-L1’s scientific objectives include the study of coronal heating, solar wind acceleration, coronal mass ejections (CMEs), dynamics of the solar atmosphere, and temperature anisotropy. It carries seven distinct payloads, five developed by Isro and two in collaboration with academic institutions.

During its journey, Aditya-L1 captured images of the Earth and Moon. In the images released by Isro, the Visible Emission Line Coronagraph (VELC) and the Solar Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (SUIT), two key payloads, can be seen. The VELC is used for coronal imaging and spectroscopy studies, while the SUIT is used for photosphere and chromosphere imaging.

Overall, Aditya-L1 will provide valuable insights into solar activities and their impact on space weather. With each successful manoeuvre, the mission moves closer to achieving its scientific goals.