BENGALURU: Aditya-L1, India’s first solar space observatory mission, which has completed two Earth-bound manoeuvres in its nearly four-month-long journey to its final destination, has taken some great pictures while it goes around Earth.
Isro, releasing these pictures, the first taken by Aditya-L1, said: ““Aditya-L1, destined for the Sun-Earth L1 point, takes a selfie and images of the Earth and the Moon.”
— ISRO (@isro) September 7, 2023
In the selfie, two key payloads, the Visible Emission Line Coronagraph (VELC) for Corona imaging & spectroscopy studies and Solar Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (SUIT) for Photosphere and Chromosphere imaging (narrow & broadband), are seen.
L1 — about 1.5-million-km from Earth — refers to Lagrange Point-1 of the Sun-Earth system. For common understanding, L1 is a location in space where the gravitational forces of two celestial bodies, such as the Sun and Earth, are in equilibrium. This allows an object placed there to remain relatively stable with respect to both celestial bodies.
Aditya-L1, which was launched on September 2 onboard a PSLV, is currently in its Earth-bound phase, which is for 16 days since launch day.
Early on Tuesday, scientists from Isro Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (Istrac) successfully implemented the second Earth-bound manoeuvre of Aditya-L1 spacecraft. The new orbit attained is 282km x 40,225km.
Istrac/Isro ground stations at Mauritius, Bengaluru and Port Blair tracked the satellite during this operation. The third of the five Earth-bound manoeuvres is scheduled for 2.30am on September 10.
Earlier, on Sunday (September 3), a day after Aditya-L1 was launched, Isro had completed the first Earth-bound manoeuvre and put the spacecraft in an orbit of 245km x 22,459km,.
Aditya-L1 is a satellite dedicated to the comprehensive study of the Sun. It has seven distinct payloads — five by Isro and two by academic institutions in collaboration with Isro — developed indigenously.
The Earth-bound manoeuvres are being carried out for the spacecraft to gain the necessary velocity for its journey to reach L1.
Subsequently, Aditya-L1 will undergo a Trans-Lagrangian1 Insertion (TLI) manoeuvre, marking the beginning of its 110-day trajectory to L1. 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.