Following the success of India’s recent Chandrayaan-3 Moon mission, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has now set its sights on the Sun.
The space agency revealed plans to launch Aditya-L1 to study the solar atmosphere on September 2, 2023.
In an official statement published on its website, the IRSO said it was “the first space-based Indian observatory to study the Sun”. Only NASA, the German Aerospace Center (DLR), and the European Space Agency (ESA) have previously launched probes into orbit to study the Sun.
Aditya-L1 will carry seven payloads, including electromagnetic and particle field detectors, to observe the Sun’s outermost layers, known as the photosphere, the chromosphere, and the corona.
“The suit of Aditya L1 payloads are expected to provide most crucial information to understand the problems of coronal heating, Coronal Mass Ejection, pre-flare and flare activities, and their characteristics, dynamics of space weather, study of the propagation of particles, and fields in the interplanetary medium etc,” the ISRO noted in a mission booklet issued on August 28, 2023.
The Aditya-L1, named after the Hindi word for the Sun, is projected to reach the L1 halo orbit at approximately 1.5 million kilometers from Earth in four months. This region of space will provide it with a continuous clear view of the Sun.
The spacecraft is scheduled to be launched from the country’s main spaceport, the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India at 11:50 am local time.
This mission marks the latest milestone in India’s ambitious space program. The country recently became the first to land a probe on the Moon’s South Pole, one of the main goals for both China and US trying to establish itself as a stronger party in a “space race”.