All About Aditya-L1: Launch Date, Objectives and Instruments Used

On Friday, ISRO embarked on the final leg of preparations for the much-anticipated launch of Aditya-L1, India’s pioneering solar space observatory mission, slated for 11:50 am on Saturday. This milestone comes after several years of rigorous development.

Aditya-L1 Mission Live Updates

Aditya-L1 is set to take flight aboard PSLV’s 59th mission, utilizing the PSLV in its XL configuration. This powerful rocket will insert the spacecraft into a highly eccentric Earth-bound orbit. From this vantage point, Aditya-L1 will execute a series of orbital maneuvers using its liquid apogee motors (LAM). These high-performance engines will play a pivotal role in propelling the spacecraft toward its ultimate destination, the Lagrange Point-1 (L1), located approximately 1.5 million kilometers from Earth. To put this distance in perspective, it’s a mere 1/100th of the space between Earth and the Sun.

Aditya-L1, as its name suggests (with “Aditya” meaning “Sun” in Sanskrit), is dedicated to an exhaustive study of the Sun. The mission is equipped with seven distinct payloads, including five developed by ISRO and two in collaboration with academic institutions.

More About Aditya-L1 Mission

The term “L1” refers to Lagrange Point 1 in the Sun-Earth system, situated around 1.5 million kilometers from Earth. L1 represents a unique location in space where the gravitational forces of two celestial bodies, such as the Sun and Earth, are balanced. This equilibrium enables objects placed there to maintain relative stability with respect to both celestial bodies, as explained by ISRO.

Following its scheduled launch on September 2nd, Aditya-L1 will remain in Earth-bound orbits for 16 days, during which it will undergo five maneuvers to gain the necessary velocity for its journey. Subsequently, Aditya-L1 will execute a Trans-Lagrangian 1 Insertion (TLI) maneuver, initiating its 110-day trajectory toward the L1 Lagrange point. Upon arrival, another maneuver will bind Aditya-L1 to an orbit around L1, a position of gravitational balance between Earth and the Sun.

Throughout its mission, Aditya-L1 will orbit L1 in an irregularly shaped path, roughly perpendicular to the line connecting Earth and the Sun. This strategic placement ensures that the satellite maintains an uninterrupted view of the Sun. It also enables the satellite to capture solar radiation and magnetic storms before they are influenced by Earth’s magnetic field and atmosphere. Additionally, the gravitational stability at the L1 point minimizes the need for frequent orbital adjustments, optimizing the satellite’s operational efficiency.

Scientific Objectives of Aditya-L1

The scientific objectives of Aditya-L1 are multifaceted, including the study of coronal heating, solar wind acceleration, coronal mass ejections (CMEs), dynamics of the solar atmosphere, and temperature anisotropy.

List of Instruments Used in Aditya-L1

To accomplish these objectives, the spacecraft carries seven scientific instruments:

Visible Emission Line Coronagraph (VELC) for Corona imaging and spectroscopy studies.

Solar Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (SUIT) for Photosphere and Chromosphere imaging in narrow and broadband.

Solar Low Energy X-ray Spectrometer (SoLEXS) for soft X-ray spectrometry.

High Energy L1 Orbiting X-ray Spectrometer (HEL1OS) for hard X-ray spectrometry.

Aditya Solar wind Particle Experiment (ASPEX) for solar wind analysis.

Plasma Analyser Package for Aditya (PAPA) for solar wind particle analysis.

Advanced Tri-axial High Resolution Digital Magnetometers for in-situ magnetic field studies.

With these advanced instruments and its unique vantage point, Aditya-L1 promises to significantly enhance our understanding of the Sun’s behavior and its impact on our solar system.