It was noon at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, and the Indian SPLV rocket left a trail of fire and smoke as it gained the skies in yet another space mission, a mere 10 days after the historical soft landing on the Moon’s south pole by the Chandrayaan-3 mission.
The Aditya-L1 space probe will study the sun, in another demonstration of India’s unwavering commitment to become one of planet Earth’s great space superpowers.
Asia Nikkei reported:
“Just over a week after it became the first nation to soft-land a spacecraft near the moon’s south pole, India on Saturday launched another ambitious mission, this time to study the sun.
The Indian Space Research Organisation’s Aditya-L1 — Aditya means the sun in Sanskrit — lifted off around noon local time from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, in southern India.”
Congratulations to ISRO for the successful launch of India’s first Solar Mission Aditya L1! pic.twitter.com/0wyxkfMi2U
— BJP (@BJP4India) September 2, 2023
About an hour into the mission, ISRO chairman S. Somanath declared that the launch was a success.
“The Aditya-L1 is set to travel about 1.5 million kilometers over around four months. If all goes according to plan, it will enter a halo orbit around what is known as Lagrange Point 1. Put simply, these points — there are five named after Italian-French mathematician Joseph-Louis Lagrange — are spots where gravitational forces between two objects allow a spacecraft to hover.
‘A satellite placed in the halo orbit around the L1 point has the major advantage of continuously viewing the sun without any occultation [or] eclipses’, [Indian Space Agency] ISRO explained on its website. ‘This will provide a greater advantage of observing the solar activities and its effect on space weather in real time’.”
PM Modi said the tireless scientific efforts by India ‘will continue in order to develop better understanding of the Universe for the welfare of entire humanity’.
After the success of Chandrayaan-3, India continues its space journey.
Congratulations to our scientists and engineers at @isro for the successful launch of India’s first Solar Mission, Aditya -L1.
Our tireless scientific efforts will continue in order to develop better…
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 2, 2023
Aditya-L1 spacecraft is carrying seven different payloads to observe the photosphere, chromosphere and the outermost layers of the sun.
“The broadcast was watched by more than 860,000 viewers, while thousands gathered at a viewing gallery near the launch site to see the lift-off of the probe, which aims to study solar winds which can cause disturbance on earth commonly seen as auroras.
Named after the Hindi word for the sun, the Aditya-L1 spacecraft took flight barely a week after India beat Russia to become the first country to land on the south pole of the moon. While Russia had a more powerful rocket, India’s Chandrayaan-3 out-endured the Luna-25 to execute a textbook landing.”
The Aditya-L1 will travel 1.5 million km (930,000 miles) over four months, until a point in space called the ‘Lagrange Point’ where, because of balancing gravitational forces, fuel consumption for the spacecraft is much reduced.
“We have made sure we will have a unique data set that is not currently available from any other mission,” said Sankar Subramanian, principal scientist of the mission.
“This will allow us to understand the sun, its dynamics as well as the inner heliosphere, which is an important element for current-day technology, as well as space-weather aspects,” he added.
India targets a five-fold increase in its share of the global launch market within the next decade.
Read more about the Indian Space program: