As the Chandrayaan-3 rover conducts experiments on the moon, scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) have set their eyes on their next target – the Sun.
The Aditya-L1, India’s first space observatory for solar research, is getting ready for launch at the country’s main spaceport in Sriharikota.
What will Aditya-L1 do?
Aditya-L1 spacecraft is designed to provide remote observations of the solar corona and study the solar atmosphere
The spacecraft will extensively study the solar winds, which can cause disturbance on Earth and are commonly seen as “auroras”.
In the long term, data from the mission could help better understand the sun’s impact on Earth’s climate patterns.
When will the Aditya-L1 mission launch?
The satellite is ready and has already reached Sriharikota, but the final date for the launch of Aditya-L1 will be announced in two days, ISRO chief S Somanath has said.
The event is expected to take place in the first week of September, with the space agency targetting a September 2 launch.
How far will the spacecraft travel?
The Aditya-L1 will hitch a ride on India’s heavy-duty launch vehicle, the PSLV, to travel 1.5 million kilometres.
“After the launch, it will take 125 days from the earth to reach Lagrange point 1 (L1). We have to wait till then,” says Mr Somanath.
It will head to a kind of parking lot in space where objects tend to stay put because of balancing gravitational forces, reducing fuel consumption for the spacecraft.
Those positions are called Lagrange Points, named after Italian-French mathematician Joseph-Louis Lagrange.
How much will the mission cost?
ISRO has earned a reputation for world-beating cost competitiveness in space engineering that executives and planners expect will boost its now-privatised space industry.
With the Chandrayaan-3 mission, India became the first country to land near the South Pole of the moon. The mission cost Rs 600 crore, equivalent to the cost of a couple of blockbuster Bollywood movies.
Aditya-L1 has been built at nearly half the cost of Chandrayaan-3. The government sanctioned Rs 378 crore in 2019 for the mission to study the Sun’s atmosphere. The ISRO hasn’t given an official update on costs yet.