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After wooing Moon, India sets up date with Sun as Aditya-L1 mission to launch in September, says ISRO chief

Just a day after the Chandrayaan-3 mission landed on the Moon, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is gearing up for its next big adventure – the Aditya-L1 mission.

ISRO’s head, S Somanath, revealed that the Aditya-L1 mission, which is all about studying the Sun, is all set to kick off its journey next month.

Somanath shared, “You can’t even imagine the excitement here in India for this mission. I want to extend my thanks to everyone in the country. This mission is dedicated to all of you.” He emphasized how vital the Chandrayaan-3 landing was and highlighted that the Aditya-L1 mission is coming up next.

“Aditya-L1 is ready to be launched and will be launched in the first week of September,” the ISRO chief told ANI. “It will take many days to reach its designated spot, the L1 point.”

The Aditya-L1 mission’s objectives
The Aditya-L1 mission is India’s bold step to explore the Sun, a celestial object that has fascinated scientists and space enthusiasts for centuries. ISRO has put a lot of thought and effort into planning this mission, and it’s now entering the final stages of getting everything together.

Somanath assured me that everything was going as planned. He mentioned, “We’re right on track. It will take around 120 days to reach its destination, roughly 1.5 million kilometers from Earth.” This incredible journey will position the Aditya-L1 spacecraft in an elliptical orbit, giving it the perfect vantage point to closely study the Sun, keep an eye on solar activities, and enhance our knowledge about the star that’s crucial for life on our planet.

The mission holds great promise for solar science, offering scientists valuable insights into solar flares, magnetic fields, and even the Sun’s outermost layer, the corona. This information is vital for predicting space weather, which can affect things like telecommunications, GPS systems, and even power grids here on Earth.

Aditya-L1’s payload
The satellite comes equipped with seven different tools, each designed to delve into various layers of the Sun, from the photosphere and chromosphere to the outer corona. These tools will rely on sensors to detect electromagnetic particles and magnetic fields.

Four of these payloads will be positioned at L1 to directly observe the Sun, while the remaining three will perform on-the-spot analyses of particles and fields. This aspect of the mission promises to provide valuable insights into how solar activities move through space between planets.

The Aditya-L1 will be carrying the following instruments:

Visible Emission Line Coronagraph (VELC)
This tool will explore the Sun’s corona through both imaging and spectroscopy. It will also focus on studying phenomena like Coronal Mass Ejections.

Solar Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (SUIT)
SUIT will capture images of the Photosphere and Chromosphere using various imaging techniques. It will also measure changes in solar irradiance.

Solar Low Energy X-ray Spectrometer (SoLEXS) and High Energy L1 Orbiting X-ray Spectrometer (HEL1OS)
These instruments will analyze the X-ray flares emitted by the Sun across a broad range of X-ray energies, from soft to hard X-rays.

Aditya Solar Wind Particle Experiment (ASPEX) and Plasma Analyser Package For Aditya (PAPA)
These instruments will study electrons and protons in the Solar wind and its energetic ions.

In addition to these, the mission will also employ Advanced Tri-axial High-Resolution Digital Magnetometers to study the interplanetary magnetic field at the L1 point.

ISRO clarified that the tools on the Aditya-L1 are expected to offer vital information for understanding different solar phenomena like coronal heating, coronal mass ejections, pre-flare and flare activities, space weather dynamics, and how particles and fields propagate.

On Gaganyaan – India’s mission to send people to space
The ISRO Chief also shared an update about Gaganyaan, the cornerstone for India’s human-crewed space missions. “Gaganyaan is still a work in progress. We will do a mission possibly by the end of September or October to demonstrate the crew module & crew escape capability, which many test missions will follow until we do the first human-crewed mission possibly by 2025,” he said.

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