ISRO has once again increased the orbit of Aditya L1, this time using thruster fire. The operation took place on Sunday, September 10th, around 2:30 AM. Aditya L1 is now positioned in an orbit ranging from 296 kilometers to 71,767 kilometers from Earth, making it the farthest it has ever been from our planet.
This operation was conducted by ISRO’s ISTRAC in Bengaluru, and Aditya L1 was tracked from ISRO’s ground stations in Mauritius and Port Blair. Another orbit adjustment is scheduled for September 15th.
This isn’t the first time Aditya L1’s orbit has been modified. On September 3rd and 5th, its orbit was raised as well. On September 5th, at 2:45 AM, Aditya L1’s orbit was increased for the second time, positioning it in an orbit ranging from 282 kilometers to 40,225 kilometers from Earth.
The initial launch of Aditya L1 took place on September 2nd at 11:50 AM using the PSLV-C57 XL version rocket from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. Just 63 minutes and 19 seconds after the launch, the spacecraft was placed in an orbit ranging from 235 kilometers to 19,500 kilometers from Earth.
Approximately four months from now, Aditya L1 will reach the Lagrange Point-1 (L1), located at a distance of 1.5 million kilometers from Earth. At this point, it can observe the Sun continuously without any interference, enabling real-time solar activity and space weather monitoring. This will be achieved by January 6, 2024.
Aditya L1 carries seven payloads:
- PAPA (Plasma Analyzer Package for Aditya): Studying the Sun’s hot atmospheres.
- VELC (Visible Emission Line Coronagraph): Capturing high-definition photos of the Sun.
- SUIT (Solar Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope): Taking photos in the ultraviolet wavelength.
- HEL10S (High-Energy L1 Orbiting X-ray Spectrometer): Studying high-energy X-rays.
- ASPEX (Aditya Solar Wind Particle Experiment): Investigating alpha particles.
- MAG (Advanced Tri-axial High-Resolution Digital Magnetometers): Studying magnetic fields.
Understanding the Sun is crucial because it is the center of our solar system, and all planets, including Earth, revolve around it. The Sun provides the energy needed for life on Earth, and its variations can affect both space and Earth’s conditions. Solar studies help us prepare for and mitigate the impacts of solar flares, which can disrupt communication systems and other technologies on Earth.
The last major solar flare impact on Earth occurred in 1859, known as the Carrington Event, disrupting global telegraph communication. ISRO’s mission aims to better understand the Sun’s behavior to be better prepared to handle such events in the future.
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