India’s first solar mission, Aditya-L1, has successfully completed its third earth-bound manoeuvre, according to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The satellite has now attained a new orbit of 296km x 71767km. This is one of five manoeuvres that will be performed during the satellite’s revolution around the Earth, with three already completed.
ISRO’s ground stations at Mauritius, Bengaluru, SDSC-SHAR, and Port Blair tracked the satellite during the third earth-bound manoeuvre. The next manoeuvre, known as EBN#4, is scheduled for September 15, 2023, around 02:00 Hrs. IST.
The purpose of an orbital manoeuvre is to increase the orbit of a satellite or spacecraft. This is done by using propulsion systems to adjust angles and fire rockets. This process is similar to a person on a swing. Just like applying pressure to make the swing go higher when coming down towards the ground, the Aditya L1 satellite will gain enough velocity to slingshot around towards its intended path.
Aditya-L1 was launched on September 2, following the successful landing of Chandrayaan-3 near the South pole of the moon. It carries seven different payloads to study the Sun in detail. Some of these payloads will observe the light from the Sun, while others will measure in-situ parameters of the plasma and magnetic fields.
The satellite will be placed in a halo orbit around Lagrangian Point 1 (L1), which is approximately 1.5 million km away from Earth in the direction of the Sun. It is expected to reach its destination in four months’ time. Aditya-L1 will continuously observe the Sun without being hindered by eclipses or occultation, providing real-time data for scientists to study solar activities and their impact on space weather.
The major objectives of India’s solar mission include studying the physics of solar corona, solar wind acceleration, the dynamics of the solar atmosphere, and the origin of Coronal Mass Ejections and flares. Aditya-L1 will travel on Earth-bound orbits for 16 days and undergo five manoeuvres to gain the required speed before reaching its destination.
Upon arrival at the L1 point, the satellite will be bound to an orbit around L1, which is a balanced gravitational location between the Earth and the Sun. This strategic position will contribute to a deeper understanding of space weather drivers and provide valuable insights into the Sun’s outer atmosphere.