India’s Solar Mission Aditya-L1 Successfully Completes Third Earth Orbit Move

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India’s first solar mission, Aditya-L1, has achieved its third earth-bound manoeuvre, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced. The satellite is now in a new orbit of 296 km x 71767 km. This is the third of five planned orbit adjustments during the satellite’s journey around Earth, with three completed successfully. The next move, EBN#4, is scheduled for September 15, 2023, around 02:00 Hrs. IST, according to ISRO. Earlier, the second manoeuvre occurred on September 5, achieving an orbit of 282 km x 40225 km, and the first manoeuvre took place on September 3.

Aditya L1’s Orbit Raising: What Does It Mean?

An orbit-raising maneuver is like giving a boost to a satellite’s path in space. It’s a routine part of space travel where the satellite’s orbit gets higher by using its engines. This involves firing rockets and adjusting the satellite’s direction. You can think of it as pushing a swing higher when it’s coming down. Once Aditya L1 gains enough speed, it will follow its planned path towards L1, kind of like a slingshot.

Aditya-L1 is India’s first solar mission, and it took off from Sriharikota on September 2. It’s got seven different tools on board to study the Sun in detail. Four of these tools will look at the Sun’s light, and the other three will measure things like the plasma and magnetic fields around the Sun.

Aditya-L1 will go into a special orbit around a point called Lagrangian Point 1 (or L1), which is about 1.5 million kilometres away from Earth, facing the Sun. It’s expected to get there in about four months. So, it’s quite far from Earth, about 1% of the distance between the Earth and the Sun. The mission’s job is to study the outer part of the Sun, which is a huge ball of gas.

Video Credit : WION

Aditya-L1’s Mission: Studying the Sun from a Safe Distance

Aditya-L1 won’t get close to the Sun or land on it. Instead, it’s going to sit in a smart spot where it can watch the Sun all the time without being blocked by things like eclipses. This will help scientists keep an eye on what the Sun is up to and how it affects space weather.

The mission has some big goals, like figuring out how the Sun’s outer layer is heated, how the solar wind works, and what causes things like solar flares and Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs). These are important for understanding space weather, which can impact things on Earth.

Aditya-L1 will take a specific path to get to its spot. First, it will go around Earth for 16 days, making five moves to pick up speed. After that, it will travel for about 110 days to reach a point called L1, which is about 15 million kilometres away from Earth. When it gets there, it will make another move to settle into its orbit around L1. This spot is like a balance point between the Earth and the Sun, where the satellite can do its work.

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Written by Nilanjan

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