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ISRO’s Aditya-L1 successfully placed in a halo orbit around L1 point

  • Category
    Science & Technology
  • Published
    13th Jan, 2024

Context

India’s maiden solar mission Aditya-L1 reached the L1 point, 127 days after it was launched. The point is located roughly 1.5 million km from earth and enables the spacecraft to view the sun continuously.

Introduction: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) achieved a significant milestone as the Aditya-L1 spacecraft reached its destination, placing it in a halo orbit around the Lagrangian point (L1). This accomplishment comes 127 days after the spacecraft's launch on September 2, 2023.

Chronology of Events:

1.  Launch of Aditya-L1 :

  • Aditya-L1, India's first solar mission, was launched from the SatishDhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.
  • The primary objective was to study the sun, making it a crucial mission for advancing solar observational capabilities.

2.  Earth-Bound Manoeuvres:

  • ISRO's Telemetry Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) executed four earth-bound manoeuvres to set the spacecraft on its trajectory.

3.  Trans-Lagrangian 1 Insertion Manoeuvre:

  • Aditya-L1 underwent the Trans-Lagrangian 1 insertion manoeuvre, initiating its 110-day trajectory towards the Lagrangian point.

4.  Arrival at Lagrangian Point:

  • After a 1.5-million km journey, the spacecraft reached the Lagrangian point.
  • ISRO scientists and engineers at ISTRAC in Bengaluru conducted a firing manoeuvre to place Aditya-L1 in a precise halo orbit around L1.

5.  Halo Orbit Insertion:

  • The halo orbit insertion process was successfully carried out, ensuring the spacecraft's precise placement around L1.
  • ISRO Chairman S Somnath emphasized the critical nature of the manoeuvre for avoiding potential deviations.

6.  Prime Minister's Announcement (January 6, 2024):

    • Prime Minister NarendraModi announced the successful arrival of Aditya-L1 at its destination, praising the dedication of Indian scientists.

Details of Halo Orbit and Lagrangian Point:

  • Halo Orbit Characteristics:
    • The Aditya-L1 is in a periodic halo orbit approximately 1.5 million km from Earth, maintaining a continuously moving Sun-Earth line.
    • This three-dimensional orbit involves the Sun, Earth, and the spacecraft, ensuring unobstructed views of the Sun.
  • Lagrangian Point (L1):
    • L1 is situated between the Sun and Earth, about 1% of the Earth-Sun distance.
    • Satellites placed at L1 experience reduced fuel consumption, making it an advantageous position for observational spacecraft.

Significance of Aditya-L1 Mission:

  • Aditya-L1 is the first Indian space-based observatory dedicated to studying the Sun.
  • The satellite carries seven payloads to observe the photosphere, chromosphere, and the outermost layer of the Sun (corona) using electromagnetic and particle detectors.

ISRO's Success in Complex Orbital Manoeuvres:

  • The precision in placing Aditya-L1 in the halo orbit highlights ISRO's capabilities in executing complex orbital manoeuvres.
  • Confidence in handling such intricate missions sets the stage for future interplanetary missions.

Way Forward:

  • The successful placement of Aditya-L1 in the halo orbit around L1 marks a significant achievement for India's space exploration
  • This mission holds the promise of advancing our understanding of solar activities and contributing crucial data to space science.’

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