ISRO’s Aditya-L1 solar probe completes first orbit around Sun-Earth L1 point

India’s solar mission Aditya-L1 spacecraft completed its first halo orbit around the Sun-Earth L1 point on July 2nd, ISRO said. The Aditya-L1 mission is an Indian solar observatory at Lagrangian point L1, launched on September 2, 2023 and was inserted in its targeted halo orbit on January 6, 2024.

Aditya L1 is India’s first solar mission to observe solar activities and their effect on space weather in real-time as well as to study solar upper atmospheric dynamics.  The mission has seven payloads to observe the photosphere, chromosphere, and the outermost layers of the Sun (the corona) using electromagnetic and particle, and magnetic field detectors.

The Indian space agency said that to maintain this orbit, the Aditya-L1 spacecraft underwent three station-keeping manoeuvres – on February 22, June 7, and July 2, ensuring its transition into the second halo orbit. These manoeuvres counteract perturbing forces that could push the spacecraft off course, it added.

Aditya-L1’s journey around the Sun-Earth L1 Lagrangian point requires careful planning and understanding of various forces that can push it off course. By studying these forces, ISRO could accurately plot the spacecraft’s path and plan necessary adjustments.

Tuesday’s manoeuvre successfully used ISRO’s advanced flight dynamics software, the space agency showed via chart (check below).

The blue line in the figure shows the orbit around L1, projected in the X-Y plane. SK#1, 2, and 3 are the adjustments made to keep the spacecraft on track. The final adjustment (SK#3) on July 2 ensured it stayed in the correct orbit. Without this, it would have veered off along the green path. The X-Y axes are marked in kilometers, with L1 at the centre.

“With this manoeuvre, the state-of-the-art flight dynamics software developed in-house at URSC-ISRO for the Aditya-L1 missions stands fully validated,” ISRO said.

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