ISRO’s Aditya-L1 enters sun’s halo orbit

In a monumental leap for India’s space exploration endeavors, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced the successful insertion of the Aditya-L1 spacecraft into a halo orbit around Lagrange point 1 (L1) of the Sun-Earth system.

Launched on September 2, 2023, aboard the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C57) from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Aditya-L1 embarked on a journey marked by precision and scientific anticipation. The spacecraft’s initial elliptical orbit, measuring 235×19500 km, set the stage for subsequent maneuvers that would determine its final destination. “𝐈𝐧𝐝𝐢𝐚, 𝐈 𝐝𝐢𝐝 𝐢𝐭. 𝐈 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐜𝐡𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐦𝐲 𝐝𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧! Aditya-L1 has successfully entered the Halo orbit around the L1 point,” reads the post by ISRO insight on X.

The halo orbit around L1, positioned approximately 1.5 million kilometers from Earth, offers distinct advantages for solar observation. Lagrange points, named after French mathematician Joseph-Louis Lagrange, are areas in space where the gravitational forces of two celestial bodies, in this case, the Earth and the Sun, nearly cancel each other out. Placing a spacecraft in a halo orbit at L1 ensures a continuous view of the Sun and allows for uninterrupted communication with ground stations. The success of the Aditya-L1 mission hinges on the precise execution of the Halo-Orbit Insertion, a maneuver that demands meticulous planning and control. The choice of a halo orbit amplifies the scientific objectives of the Aditya-L1 mission. This specific orbit provides a smooth Sun-spacecraft velocity change throughout the orbit, crucial for helioseismology. Additionally, being outside the Earth’s magnetosphere makes it suitable for in-situ sampling of the solar wind and particles.

The insertion process involved firing control engines for a short duration, adjusting the spacecraft’s speed and position to align with the requirements of the halo orbit. Beyond scientific exploration, the Aditya-L1 mission holds practical implications. By continuously monitoring the Sun, the spacecraft can offer early warnings about solar electromagnetic effects on Earth. This capability becomes vital for safeguarding satellites, power systems, and communication networks during solar storms.


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