After moon, the sun: ISRO eyes another milestone mission - The Tribune India

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After moon, the sun

ISRO eyes another milestone mission

After moon, the sun

WHEN the unmanned Chandrayaan-3’s lander Vikram touched down on the unexplored south pole of the moon last week, it marked a milestone in India’s ambitious but low-budget space programme. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is in a mission mode as it eyes another watershed feat. The launch of the country’s first space-based observatory to study the sun is scheduled for September 2. Aditya-L1 is set to lift off aboard ISRO’s heavy-duty rocket, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle or PSLV. It will be placed in a halo orbit around the Lagrange Point 1 (L1) of the sun-earth system. The solar probe vehicle would take about four months to travel to its observation point, a distance of about 1.5 million km from earth.

A Lagrange Point is a spot in space where the nearest celestial entities’ gravitational forces cancel each other out. This helps an object remain in equilibrium. A spacecraft put in orbit around the L1 point gets a continuous clear view of the sun. NASA and the European Space Agency have previously placed probe vehicles into the solar orbit to study the sun. This would be the first such mission for India. Aditya-L1 will study the solar characteristics and their impact on earth as well as the overall space weather conditions. Studies will be undertaken to observe solar flares as well. The observatory will carry seven payloads.

A succession of successful missions is expected to bolster India’s reputation, providing a certification of space readiness that could prove to be transformational for ISRO and associated firms. The low-cost model and an abundance of highly skilled engineers are also likely to work to India’s advantage. A joint mission with Japan is planned to send another probe to the moon by 2025 and an orbital mission to Venus within the next two years. ISRO is on a roll. 

#Chandrayaan #ISRO

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