Aditya-L1 achieves milestone with first halo orbit around L1 point, ISRO confirms

The observatory satellite was inserted into its targeted halo orbit on January 6, 2024.
India’s Aditya-L1 solar observation spacecraft took 178 days to complete its first revolution around the L1 point on Tuesday.
India’s Aditya-L1 solar observation spacecraft took 178 days to complete its first revolution around the L1 point on Tuesday.

BENGALURU: Aditya-L1, India’s maiden mission to the Sun launched on September 2, 2023, has completed its first halo orbit around the Sun-Earth Lagrange 1 point, ISRO announced on Tuesday.

The observatory satellite was inserted into its targeted halo orbit on January 6, 2024. The spacecraft has taken 178 days to complete a revolution around the L1 point. This extraordinary feat and crucial manoeuvre was possible because of the state-of-the-art flight dynamics software developed inhouse at UR Rao Satellite Centre (URSC) in Bengaluru. Completing the orbit has made the software fully reliable, and validated the capability of Aditya-L1 missions.

The spacecraft took a precise three-dimensional trajectory. The final firing of the thrusters on July 2 placed the spacecraft back in the required orbit. If an accurate firing was not done, the spacecraft would have moved away from the designated orbit.

Through a graph, ISRO also showed if the critical manoeuvre hadn’t worked, what divergent path Aditya L1 would have been on.

“It underwent two station-keeping manoeuvres on February 22 and June 7, respectively, to maintain this orbit. Today’s 3rd station-keeping manoeuvre has ensured that its travel continued into the revolution around the L1 point second halo orbit path around L1,” said ISRO in a statement.

Aditya-L1
Aditya-L1

During its travel in the halo orbit, the Aditya-L1 spacecraft was subjected to various strong and unsettling forces that caused it to depart from the targeted orbit.

Scientists explained that the journey of Aditya L1 around the Sun-Earth L1 Lagrangian point involves modelling complex dynamics.

“Understanding of various perturbing forces acting on the spacecraft helped in determining the trajectory accurately and planning precise orbit manoeuvres,” said the space agency.

Aditya-L1 carries seven payloads to observe the photosphere, chromosphere and corona of the Sun using electromagnetic and particle detectors.

The mission aims to provide crucial insights into solar physics and space weather and moreover make sure that the billion-dollar Indian satellites are protected from solar storms. This will benefit scientific research and allow applications for various industries.

The L1 Point will provide a unique view for the spacecraft which will allow for continuous, unobstructed observations of the Sun for the next five years.

India’s sun-observing Aditya-L1 completes first ‘halo’ orbit around L1

  • On Tuesday, India’s Aditya-L1 solar observation spacecraft took 178 days to complete its first revolution around the L1 point

  • Orbit around L1 is perpendicular to the Earth-Sun axis

  • Lagrange Point-1 (L1) is between the Sun and Earth where the gravitational forces of both balance each other out through attraction and repulsion. It is 1.5 million km from Earth

  • To maintain this orbit around L1, it needed three thruster firings. With the third firing on Tuesday, Aditya-L1 has begun its second revolution around L1

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