India’s first-ever space-based observatory-class solar mission lifted off on Saturday, September 2 at 11:50 AM IST from the launch pad 2 of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. Aditya-L1 is India’s second space venture this year after the success of Chandrayaan-3 which completed its lunar soft landing on August 23. Just a few days ago, the Aditya-L1 spacecraft, along with the PSLV-C57 was rolled out onto the launch pad by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), and launch rehearsals were carried out to ensure everything ran smoothly. Now, the spacecraft has taken off for the Sun, and it will travel approximately 1.5 million kilometers and be placed in the halo orbit.
Just a few minutes before the launch, the autonomous launch sequence began, following which, the spacecraft lifted off at 11:50 AM IST, embarking on its 1.5 million-kilometer journey to the Lagrange point (L1) of the Sun-Earth system. This vantage point is beneficial for the mission as it provides an unobstructed view of the Sun, unaffected by occultations or eclipses.
According to Dr. Anil Bharadwaj, director of the Physical Research Laboratory in Ahmedabad which developed the Aditya Solar wind Particle EXperiment (ASPEX) and Plasma Analyser Package for Aditya (PAPA) payloads, “First of all, let me tell you that Aditya-L1 is multiwavelength, multi-instrument, and multidirectional. Multiwavelength because it works on X-rays, UV, and visible spectrum. Multi-instrumental because there are 7 instruments on board, and multidirectional because it not only looks at the Sun but also around it”.
After the first and second rocket stage’s separation, the payload was also separated at 2 minutes 40 seconds. The third stage separated successfully at the 900-second mark at an altitude of 2880 kilometers from the surface of the Earth.
Before the launch, former ISRO chairman G. Madhavan Nair told ANI, “This mission is very important. Aditya L-1 will be placed around Lagrangian Point 1, where the gravitational force of Earth and the Sun virtually cancels and with minimum fuel, we can maintain spacecraft there. In addition, 24/7 observation is possible. Seven instruments have been put onboard the spacecraft. The data from this mission will help explain various phenomena taking place in the atmosphere, climate change studies etc.”
About Aditya-L1 mission
According to ISRO, Aditya-L1 is the first observatory-class space-based solar mission carried out by the Indian space agency. The spacecraft will be placed in a halo orbit around the first Lagrange point, L1, of the Sun-Earth system and will carry seven payloads including particle and electronic detectors to study the layers of the Sun, such as the Chromosphere, Coronal layer and the Photosphere.
The Aditya-L1 spacecraft will join the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory at L1 point, which was launched jointly by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1995 to study the Sun inside out.