BENGALURU: ISRO is all set to launch Aditya- L1 spacecraft on Saturday morning on PSLV-C57 to study the Sun after a successful mission to the Moon’s south pole on August 23. The countdown for the launch began at 12.10 p.m. on Friday. The solar mission is scheduled to lift off at 11.50 am on Saturday from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota. On August 30, the space agency successfully completed the launch rehearsals and verified all internal checks.
“After launching it at 11:50 am, it will take almost an hour to reach the desired location (in Earth orbit) and then inject the satellite. The travel time to reach the L1 point (Lagrange Point 1) will be 125 days (around four months), from where it will study the sun,” ISRO Chairman S Somanath told reporters. Somanath was speaking outside Chengalamma Parameshwari Temple in Tirupati district after offering prayers for a successful solar mission.
Lagrange Point is a point in space between the Sun and Earth where their respective gravitational pulls equal each other. Positioning at this point enables the satellite to move with the Earth, facing the Sun.
Lagrange Point, and the gravitational forces of the Earth and Sun acting on it, enable the satellite to reduce fuel consumption needed to remain in that position. A satellite placed in this position has the major advantage of constantly facing the Sun without hindrance from occultation or eclipses.
The mission aims at observing the solar atmosphere, mainly the chromosphere and corona — the outermost layers of the Sun — and conducting studies to record the local environment from L1. There are seven payloads onboard Aditya-L1, with four of them carrying out remote sensing of the Sun and three conducting solar observations. The mission has been in the works for about three years and in discussion since 2008. Developed indigenously by ISRO, Aditya L1 will have a life of five years, but ISRO scientists said it could go beyond that.
The satellite will be placed in a halo orbit around Lagrange Point 1 (L1) of the Sun-Earth system, which is about 1.5 million km from the Earth. The live telecast of the mission can be watched on the Doordarshan channel or ISRO’s YouTube and Facebook.
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