India’s first solar mission, Aditya-L1, is currently en route to its ultimate destination at Sun-Earth Lagrange Point 1 (L1). L1 is a point in space where the gravitational forces of the Sun and Earth balance out, allowing objects placed there to remain relatively stable. Aditya-L1 will operate in a halo orbit around L1, providing continuous observation of celestial bodies and enabling communication with Earth.
The mission, which was launched on September 2, is expected to reach L1 in January. In order to ensure the spacecraft’s safety, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is conducting situational awareness. Recent findings from ISRO indicate that there are already four operational satellites at L1. Three of them are owned by NASA: WIND, Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE), and Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR). The fourth satellite, the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), is a joint mission by NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA).
The L1 point is highly desirable for spacecraft due to its minimal fuel requirements for orbit corrections. Maintaining orbit stability is crucial due to the large positional uncertainty and sensitivity to perturbative forces. Accurate orbit determination for L1 requires tracking data collection over an extended period.
In addition to the Aditya-L1 mission, ISRO chairman S. Somanath announced that a mission to Venus is already in the works. Payloads for Venus exploration have been developed, as Venus’s thick atmosphere and high atmospheric pressure offer valuable insights into space science and the possibility of Earth undergoing similar changes.
The Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) is currently collaborating with ISRO on the Mangalyaan-2 mission, following its involvement in the Chandrayaan-2 and Aditya-L1 missions. ECIL assists ISRO in the design and development of antenna systems and program logic controllers. The successful maneuver of the Aditya-L1 mission highlights the crucial role of ECIL’s antenna system in communication, while ECIL’s Deep Space Network antenna facilitated data acquisition from the Chandrayaan mission.
– Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
– European Space Agency (ESA)