Get Informed, Stay Inspired

The first solar observatory in India has arrived at its destination.
Science & Health Technology

The first solar observatory in India has arrived at its destination.

India has reached a significant point in its space exploration efforts by successfully launching a spacecraft into an orbit for a five-year mission to study the sun.

Four months after successfully landing an unmanned spacecraft on the moon’s southern polar region, India has joined a prestigious group of countries studying the sun. This achievement solidifies India’s growing reputation as a leading nation in the field of space exploration.

On Saturday, the Indian Space Research Organization announced that the Aditya L-1 space observatory has successfully reached its designated position for monitoring the sun’s outer layer and transmitting data back to Earth. The spacecraft, launched on September 2, took four months to reach its destination.

According to a statement from ISRO, the Aditya-L1 spacecraft follows a cyclical Halo orbit positioned approximately 1.5 million kilometers away from Earth.

The satellite Aditya-L1 is named after the Hindu deity Aditya, who represents the sun in Sanskrit mythology. “L1” denotes Lagrange point 1, the specific spot in space where the satellite is positioned between the sun and Earth.

According to Chaitanya Giri, an associate professor of environmental sciences at Flame University in Pune, this showcases India’s ability to journey beyond a million kilometers from the Earth’s orbit. It is a rare capability possessed by only a handful of countries, with India being the first in Asia to achieve it. Giri also highlights the importance of being able to maintain deep space communication with a spacecraft that has traveled such a great distance and sustain the mission for an extended period.

The Indian space mission will be dedicated to observing the sun for a duration of five years. The spacecraft is currently situated at the “Lagrange 1” point, which allows for an unobstructed view of the sun, even during solar eclipses.

The primary objective of the mission is to improve our knowledge of space weather, the changes in the space environment between Earth and the sun. This information is essential for safeguarding satellites and other spacecraft, as stated by scientists who study space.

Ajay Lele, a space scientist and former senior fellow at the Manohar Parrikar Institute of Defense Studies and Analyses in New Delhi, emphasized the importance of comprehending space weather now that there are numerous satellites orbiting the Earth.

The speaker mentioned that space weather refers to disruptions that occur on the sun, such as solar winds, solar flares, and coronal mass ejections. He emphasized the importance of studying all three of these components.

Aditya-L1 is expected to be able to give warnings about space storms that can have an impact on Earth, occasionally affecting the operation of satellites and radio communications.

The spacecraft is outfitted with seven scientific tools to examine particles of solar wind and magnetic fields.

Several countries, including the U.S., European Union, Japan, and China, have launched missions to observe the sun through space agency programs.

The Indian space program, initiated in the 1960s, has become more well-known during the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is perceived as a way to enhance India’s reputation on a global scale.

On Saturday, Modi shared on X (previously known as Twitter) that India has achieved another significant feat. He praised the unwavering commitment of our scientists in successfully executing a highly challenging and intricate space mission.

The Indian space agency has scheduled several important missions, including a manned space mission set to launch this year and an interplanetary mission to Mars.

Experts say that in addition to scientific space missions, India is working to improve its military capabilities in space. This was evident in 2019 when India successfully tested an anti-satellite weapon, showcasing its ability to destroy satellites in orbit. This puts India in a select group with the United States, China, and Russia as the only countries with this capability.

In the upcoming five years, India is aiming to create 50 novel satellites utilizing artificial intelligence technology. This initiative aims to strengthen the nation’s border monitoring and improve its “geo-intelligence” capabilities. According to S. Somanath, the chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), this statement was made last month.

Experts believe that India’s military relies heavily on improving its space surveillance abilities. This is particularly important as India is concerned about its borders with China in the Himalayas, where disputes have led to military conflicts. Additionally, India is also focused on the Indian Ocean region, where China’s growing influence is a concern.