New Delhi, Sep 2 (EFE).- India launched its first space mission dedicated to studying the sun, days after achieving the historic feat of landing an unmanned spacecraft on the moon’s south pole,
The Aditya-L1 spacecraft was successfully launched aboard a satellite launch vehicle from the Sriharikota space center in southern Andhra Pradesh, with its destination set for a point in space known as Lagrange (L1).
The L1 point in the earth-sun system is situated approximately 1.5 million kilometers (930,000 miles) away from earth.
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) live-streamed the launch of the spacecraft to study the sun’s corona, chromosphere, photosphere, and solar wind.
“India’s first solar observatory has begun its journey to the destination of sun-earth L1 point,” the space agency wrote on the X social media platform, previously called Twitter.
“The launch of Aditya-L1 by PSLV-C57 is accomplished successfully. The vehicle has placed the satellite precisely in its intended orbit,” ISRO said.
The probe will spend 16 days orbiting the earth before heading toward L1.
It will take approximately four months to reach this point, representing just 1 percent of the distance separating the sun and earth.
There are five Lagrange points in space, numbered L1 to L5, where the gravitational forces of the sun and earth balance, creating regions of enhanced attraction and repulsion.
Spacecraft can utilize these points to minimize the fuel required to maintain their positions.
“A satellite placed in the halo orbit around the L1 point has the major advantage of continuously viewing the sun without any occultation/eclipses,” the space agency said.
“This will provide a greater advantage of observing the solar activities and its effect on space weather in real-time.”
The satellite, equipped with seven payloads comprising electromagnetic particle and magnetic field detectors, will study the sun from L1.
Among these payloads, four will directly observe the sun, while the remaining three will conduct in-situ research on particles and fields at L1, yielding crucial scientific data regarding solar dynamics in the interplanetary medium.
Aditya-L1 weighs around 1480.7 kilograms and is expected to remain in operation for about five years.
Although ISRO has not disclosed the mission’s budget, local media estimates the cost at over $48 million. EFE