India's Aditya-L1 solar probe launches

Aditya-L1 is India's maiden solar mission and will be the first spacecraft by any Asian nation to be placed in the solar orbit. India has been pushing hard to increase its footprint in space

Aditya-L1 is carrzing scientific instruments to observe the Sun's outermost layers and aims to study behavior (Photo: DW)
Aditya-L1 is carrzing scientific instruments to observe the Sun's outermost layers and aims to study behavior (Photo: DW)


India launched its maiden expedition to the sun called Aditya-L1 on Saturday.

Following the success of India's moon landing with Chandrayaan-3 this is the country's next attempt at another space milestone.

Aditya-L1 is carrzing scientific instruments to observe the Sun's outermost layers and aims to study behavior.

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) tweeted a link to the launch of the spacecraft taking place at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, in the South Indian state of Andra Pradesh.

Aditya-L1 could make a "big bang" for science

The mission which is named after the Hindi word for "sun" blasted off on Saturday morning.

The spacecraft is set to travel about 1.5 million kilometers for over four months towards a so-called Lagrange Point in space.

Objects tend to stay put in this space because of the balancing act of gravitational focus which also aids to reduce fuel consumption of the spacecraft.

Somak Raychaudhury who was involved in the development of certain parts of the mission's observatory said that Aditya-L1 had the capacity to make a "big bang in terms of science."

Last month, India beat Russia into becoming the first country to land an unmanned vessel on the south pole of the moon.

Aditya-L1 to focus on several types of solar behaviors

Raychaudhury told broadcaster NDTV that one of the main things the probe will study are coronal mass ejections, a periodic phenomenon which sees massive discharges of plasma and magnetic energy from the Sun's atmosphere.

Some of these bursts are powerful enough to reach the Earth and disrupt satellites.

Aditya-L1 will help predict this phenomenon and "alert everybody so that satellites can shut down their power," he said.

"The low earth orbit has been heavily polluted due to private participation, so understanding how to safeguard satellites there will have special importance in today's space environment," said Rama Rao Nidamanuri, head of the department of earth and space sciences at the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology.

In the long run, data from the mission could help better understand the sun's impact on earth's climate patterns, the origins of solar wind, the stream of particles that flow from the sun through the solar system, said scientists from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

India's consistent rise in space work

Beginning with NASA's pioneer programme in 1960's, previously, the US and European Space Agency (ESA) have sent numerous probes to the center of the solar system.

However, if successful the latest Indian mission will be the first by any Asian nation to be placed in solar orbit.

India has recently privatized space launches and is looking to open the sector to foreign investment. It targets a five-fold increase in its share in the global launch market within the next decade.

The country has been steadily matching the achievements of established spacefaring powers at a much lesser cost. Experts believe that the country is able to keep costs low by copying and adapting existing technology and due to the highly skilled engineers who typically earn a fraction of their foreign counterparts' salaries.

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Published: 02 Sep 2023, 1:27 PM