The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) recently launched its first mission to the sun, Aditya-L1. The orbiter will spend 135 days traveling to Lagrange point 1 (L1), the spot equidistant between the sun and the Earth. At this location, the gravitational pull of the Earth and sun cancel each other out, which will allow the orbiter to hover in place. When Aditya-L1 reaches this point, it will orbit the sun at the same speed as Earth, enabling it to use little fuel for this maneuver.
The satellite was launched on September 2nd, 2023, and spent the next few weeks conducting orbit-raising burns, preparing to break from Earth’s orbit, culminating in the trans-Lagrangian point 1 injection on September 19th. Aditya-L1 will now spend the next four months on route to Lagrange point 1, just in time to observe the Sun reaching the peak of its solar cycle, when solar activity is highest.
Here, the orbiter will conduct multiple studies to help scientists understand space weather phenomena such as solar wind and flares, observe the sun’s corona and the physical particle environment around the sun, and study the processes in the corona’s layers that cause solar eruptions. This will help inform how these events affect Earth and other parts of the solar system. The orbiter is equipped with seven payloads to gather the research, including a coronagraph to image the sun’s corona, a Plasma Analyser Package for Aditya to study protons and heavier ions, an Aditya Solar Wind Particle Experiment to observe solar winds, as well as magnetometers to measure magnetic fields, and two X-ray spectrometers.
VPT congratulates ISRO on their inaugural venture to the sun, and everyone involved with the program’s current and future success! With parts on board, VPT is proud to be involved in this historic mission.