Mon. Oct 2nd, 2023
Aditya L-1 Mission Successfully Performs Third Earth-Bound Manoeuvre

The Aditya L-1 mission, focused on studying the Sun, has successfully performed its third Earth-bound manoeuvre from ISTRAC, Bengaluru on September 10. The satellite was tracked by ISRO’s ground stations at Mauritius, Bengaluru, SDSC-SHAR, and Port Blair during this operation. The new orbit achieved by the satellite is 296 km x 71,767 km.

This manoeuvre is part of a series of five planned orbit manoeuvres that will be performed during the satellite’s revolution around the Earth. With three successful manoeuvres already completed, the second one attained an orbit of 282 km x 40,225 km on September 5, and the first was performed on September 3.

An orbit-raising manoeuvre, also known as a burn, is a standard protocol during a spaceflight. It involves increasing the orbit of the satellite or spacecraft by using propulsion systems. This process includes firing rockets and adjusting angles. An analogy can be drawn to a person on a swing, where pressure is applied to make the swing go higher when it is coming down towards the ground. Similarly, once Aditya L1 gains enough velocity, it will slingshot around to reach its intended path towards L1.

After the final manoeuvre on September 18, Aditya-L1 will undergo a Trans-Lagrange insertion manoeuvre, marking the beginning of its 110-day trajectory to the destination around the L1 Lagrange point. Once it arrives at the L1 point, another manoeuvre will bind Aditya-L1 to an orbit around L1, which is the balanced gravitational point between the Earth and the Sun.

Aditya-L1 will remain approximately 1.5 million km away from the Earth and will be directed towards the Sun, at around 1% of the Earth-Sun distance. The spacecraft will utilize its Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) engine for orbital manoeuvres to reach L1.

ISRO launched India’s first solar observatory mission, Aditya-L1, on September 2 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. On September 7, ISRO released a selfie and images of the Earth and the Moon taken by the camera on-board the Aditya-L1 solar mission spacecraft.