India’s first solar observatory, Aditya-L1 began its 110-day journey to the Lagrange Point-1 of the Sun-Earth system, after the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully performed the trans-Lagrangean Point insertion–a key manoeuvre that pushed the craft out of the Earth’s orbit–in the early hours of Tuesday.
The space agency also confirmed that this is the fifth consecutive time that ISRO has successfully transferred an object on a trajectory toward another celestial body or location in space.
According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Lagrange Points are positions in space where the gravitational forces of a two-body system like the Sun and Earth produce enhanced regions of attraction and repulsion.
After the launch, a series of Earth-bound manoeuvres were also performed to ensure that the craft gathers enough momentum to be launched into its 125-day journey.
The mission will allow India’s scientists to unlock new insights about the centre of our solar system, by ensuring uninterrupted observations of the Sun.
The spacecraft is meant to be placed in a halo orbit around L1 of the Sun-Earth system, which is about 1.5 million km from the Earth. To be sure, this point is only 1% of the Earth-Sun distance.
Before being placed at L1, the space agency will conduct a final manoeuvre to bind the craft where it will spend at least the next five years studying various aspects of the Sun.