ISRO Chief S Somnath on Aditya L1 Launch
ISRO chief S Somanath announced that preparations for the launch of India’s first solar mission, Aditya-L1, were underway. The countdown for the launch is set to begin on Friday, with the mission scheduled for liftoff on September 2 at 11.50 am from the Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh. He said, “We are just getting ready for the launch. The rocket and satellite are ready. We completed the rehearsal for the launch. So tomorrow, we have to start the countdown for the day after tomorrow’s launch.”
The Aditya-L1 spacecraft is specifically designed to conduct remote observations of the solar corona and in situ observations of the solar wind from the Sun-Earth Lagrangian point (L1), located approximately 1.5 million kilometers from Earth. This mission is a significant milestone as it represents a fully indigenous effort with the involvement of national institutions. It marks India’s inaugural dedicated space mission for studying the Sun and is being launched by the Bengaluru-based Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
Aditya L1 Cost and Purpose
The Aditya-L1 mission received a sanction of approximately $46 million (Approx Rs. 380 Crores) from the Indian government in 2019, although the official cost update from ISRO is unavailable. The success of this mission would be a significant achievement for ISRO, following India’s historic achievement of landing a spacecraft near the lunar south pole in August. If everything proceeds as planned, Aditya-L1 will be placed in a halo orbit around one of the five Lagrange points, providing a continuous view of the sun and enabling real-time study of its impact on the Earth’s environment and other planets in our solar system.
India’s Aditya-L1 mission to study the sun will place the country among a select few nations engaged in solar research. China has launched two spacecraft for this purpose, while Japan, the UK, the US, and Europe collaborate on the Hinode mission, focusing on measuring the sun’s magnetic fields. Additionally, the Solar & Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), a joint NASA and ESA project, occupies the same Lagrange point as Aditya-L1. The US also conducts various solar missions, notably the Parker Solar Probe, which became the first spacecraft to venture into the sun’s corona in 2021.
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