In a monumental stride for its space program, India launched its first mission to study the sun on Saturday, marking yet another significant milestone just a fortnight after a successful uncrewed lunar landing near the moon’s polar region. The Aditya-L1 spacecraft, which embarked on its journey from the Sriharikota space center in southern India, is set to explore the sun from a vantage point approximately 1.5 million kilometers away from Earth, known as L1, providing an uninterrupted view of our solar system’s star.
The pioneering spacecraft is armed with seven payloads designed to study various aspects of the sun, including its corona, chromosphere, photosphere, and solar wind, according to the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). A little over an hour post-launch, ISRO announced the successful completion of the mission, stating, "The vehicle has placed the satellite precisely into its intended orbit. India’s first solar observatory has begun its journey to the destination of Sun-Earth L1 point." The satellite is expected to reach the L1 point in 125 days, paving the way for groundbreaking solar research.
India Launches First Space Mission to Study the Sun
In an exciting advancement in space exploration, India launched its first mission to study the sun on Saturday. This remarkable event comes less than two weeks after the country’s successful uncrewed landing near the south polar region of the moon.
A Journey of 930,000 miles
The Aditya-L1 spacecraft embarked on its journey aboard a satellite launch vehicle from the Sriharikota space center in southern India. The spacecraft aims to observe the sun from a point known as L1, about 1.5 million kilometers (930,000 miles) from Earth. This point provides an undisturbed view of the sun.
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has equipped the spacecraft with seven payloads to study the sun’s corona, chromosphere, photosphere, and solar wind. After an hour into the launch, ISRO announced that the launch was a success. The satellite is expected to reach the L1 point in 125 days.
A Historic Moment for ISRO
This mission marks a significant achievement for India, which became the first country to land a spacecraft near the moon’s south pole on August 23. After a failed moon landing attempt in 2019, India has now joined the United States, Russia, and China as the fourth country to accomplish this feat.
India’s junior minister for science and technology, Jitendra Singh, praised ISRO for their work on the launch. "Congratulations India. Congratulations ISRO," he said, calling it a "sunshine moment for India."
Implications and Expectations
The sun study, along with India’s successful moon landing, is set to transform the global image of ISRO, according to Manish Purohit, a former scientist at the research organization.
Once in place, the satellite will provide early warnings about increased solar activity, which has the potential to disrupt power grids on Earth. This can help protect satellites that form the backbone of the global economic structure, as well as individuals living in space stations.
India’s successful launch of its first mission to study the sun represents a major leap in the country’s space exploration endeavors. The mission not only elevates India’s stature in the global space community but also holds the potential to provide critical information about solar activity that can help protect our planet and its technological infrastructure. It is indeed a ‘sunshine moment’ for India and the world of space research.