ISRO’s Aditya L1 Successfully Performs 3rd Earth-Bound Manoeuvre; Fourth To Take Place On This Date

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Aditya L1 Mission: Aditya-L1, India’s first solar mission, has successfully performed the third earth-bound manoeuvre, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said on Sunday. The new orbit attained by the satellite is 296km x 71767 km. A total of five such orbit manoeuvring will be performed during the satellite’s revolution around the Earth of which three have been successfully performed.

Earlier, the second earth-bound manoeuvre was successfully performed on September 5, attaining an orbit of 282 km x 40225 km while the 1st was performed on 3 September.

What does Aditya L1’s orbit raising maneouver mean?

An orbital manoeuvre, also called as burn, is a regular protocol during a spaceflight. During this exercise, the orbit of the satellite or spacecraft, is increased by using propulsion systems. This process will include rockets firing and also adjustment of angles. To understand the process, take the example of a person on a swing. To make the swing go higher, a pressure is applied when the swing is coming down towards the ground. Similarly, once Aditya L1 will gain enough velocity, it will slingshot around to its intended path towards L1.

It carried seven different payloads to have a detailed study of the Sun, four of which will observe the light from the Sun and the other three will measure in-situ parameters of the plasma and magnetic fields.

Aditya-L1 will be placed in a halo orbit around Lagrangian Point 1 (or L1), which is 1.5 million km away from the Earth in the direction of the sun. It is expected to cover the distance in four months’ time. It will stay approximately 1.5 million km away from Earth, directed towards the Sun, which is about 1 per cent of the Earth-Sun distance. The Sun is a giant sphere of gas and Aditya-L1 would study the outer atmosphere of the Sun.

ISRO said Aditya-L1 will neither land on the sun nor approach the sun any closer.

This strategic location will enable Aditya-L1 to continuously observe the sun without being hindered by eclipses or occultation, allowing scientists to study solar activities and their impact on space weather in real-time. Also, the spacecraft’s data will help identify the sequence of processes that lead to solar eruptive events and contribute to a deeper understanding of space weather drivers.

Major objectives of India’s solar mission include the study of the physics of solar corona and its heating mechanism, the solar wind acceleration, coupling and dynamics of the solar atmosphere, solar wind distribution and temperature anisotropy, and origin of Coronal Mass Ejections (CME) and flares and near-earth space weather.

Subsequently, Adiya-L1 will undergo a trans-Lagrangian1 insertion manoeuvre that will take 110 days. The satellite will travel approximately 15 million kilometres to reach the L1 point. Upon arrival at the L1 point, another manoeuvre binds Aditya-L1 to an orbit around L1, a balanced gravitational location between the Earth and the Sun, according to information shared on ISRO’s official website.

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