Aditya L1, India’s upcoming mission to study the Sun, is set to leave Earth on September 19 and head towards the L1 point in space, located 1.5 million kilometers away. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to perform the Trans-Lagrangian Point 1 Insertion (TL1I) at 2 am on Tuesday. The spacecraft is currently in a highly elliptical orbit of 256 km x 121,973 km.
ISRO’s ground stations in Mauritius, Bengaluru, SDSC-SHAR, and Port Blair have been tracking the satellite during its operations. Additionally, a transportable terminal stationed in the Fiji islands will support post-burn operations for Aditya-L1. This mission is unique because usually, ISRO satellites are placed in orbits around the Earth or other celestial bodies like the Moon and Mars. However, Aditya L1 will move around a point in space, known as the L1 point, which has a balanced gravitational pull and acts like a virtual planet for the spacecraft.
The L1 point, along with five other Lagrange points, provides an ideal parking spot in space for spacecraft. This is because they don’t need to use much fuel to stay in orbit. In fact, scientists believe that due to the chosen L1 point for studying the Sun, Aditya L1’s mission, initially planned for five years, could last as long as 25 years. A similar mission, the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), launched in 1995 with a planned life of two years but has been gathering data for nearly 28 years. This shows the potential longevity of missions focused on studying the Sun.
Aditya L1’s mission to study the Sun from the L1 point in space is a significant milestone for ISRO. By utilizing the unique properties of the L1 point, the spacecraft will have a stable orbit and can gather valuable data about the Sun for an extended period. This mission opens up new possibilities for studying our closest star and deepening our understanding of its behavior and impact on Earth.
What is the purpose of Aditya L1?
Aditya L1’s purpose is to study the Sun from the L1 point in space and gather valuable data about its behavior.
How far is the L1 point from Earth?
The L1 point is located 1.5 million kilometers away from Earth.
How long is Aditya L1’s mission planned for?
Initially, Aditya L1’s mission is planned for five years, but it could potentially last up to 25 years.
What is unique about the L1 point?
The L1 point has a balanced gravitational pull, making it an ideal parking spot for spacecraft. They don’t need to use much fuel to remain in orbit around the L1 point.
How long has the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) been gathering data?
SOHO, a similar mission to Aditya L1, was launched in 1995 with a planned life of two years but has been gathering data for nearly 28 years.