Why India Launched Aditya-L1 Mission As Its First Space Probe To Study The Sun, Weeks After Landing on the Moon

Weeks after the India Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully landed the Chandrayaan-3 lander on the lunar surface, the agency is already on its way to the Sun. On September 2, ISRO launched the Aditya-L1 mission atop a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) from Satish Dhawan Space Centre at 2:20 a.m. EDT (0620 GMT; 11:50 a.m. local India time).

This successful launch was celebrated across the world as it remains India’s first-ever solar observatory targeted at studying the sun. 63 minutes after the launch, the PSLV successfully deployed Aditya-L1 into low Earth Orbit (LEO). This successful deployment led to massive jubilation in the ISRO mission control center.

“Congratulations, India, and congratulations, ISRO [the Indian Space Research Organisation],” Jitendra Singh, India’s Minister of State for Science and Technology, announced shortly after deployment on ISRO’s launch webcast. “While the whole world watched this with bated breath, it is indeed a sunshine moment for India,” Singh added.

The successful liftoff is also another huge milestone for ISRO after the August 23 historic touchdown of the Chandrayaan-3 mission as the first space probe to soft-land in the lunar south pole. While the Chandrayaan-3 rover is a week ahead of its final operation on the moon due to the hostile nature of the forthcoming lunar night, Aditya-L1 is heading to the Sun to open another exploration goal for the Indian Space Agency.

Currently, Aditya-L1 is still in low earth orbit, where it will remain temporally until ISRO completes its inspection of the probe. Once the checkouts are accomplished, the solar observatory will use its onboard propulsion system to propel towards Earth-Sun Lagrange Point 1 (L1). This point is a gravitationally stable region at about 1 million miles (1.5 million kilometers) away from Earth in the Sun’s direction. From this point, it will study the Sun.

Why ISRO launched the Aditya-L1 Mission to Study the Sun

ISRO revealed that the Aditya-L1 space probe will use its three science instruments to study the particles and magnetic fields in its close surroundings and four other instruments to observe the Sun’s surface and its atmosphere. The outcome of this observation will help scientists to learn more about solar activity such as the dynamics of solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs), ISRO reveals.

Note that solar flares are extremely powerful flashes of massive-energy radiation. CMEs also eject massive eruptions of solar plasma. Scientists reveal that these two types of outbursts can affect earthlings from deep space. Studies have proven that powerful CMEs that reach our planet can lead to geomagnetic storms which can affect satellite navigation and shutdown power grids. ISRO will use the Aditya-L1 mission to monitor the coronal heating problem, which is one of the strangest mysteries within heliophysics.

NASA revealed that the corona which is the Sun’s wispy outer atmosphere is extremely hot and can reach temperatures of about 2 million degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 million degrees Celsius). This is roughly 200 times hotter than the Sun’s surface with a scorching temperature of about 10,000 degrees F (5,500 degrees C). ISRO also planned to accomplish other scientific goals during the Aditya-L1 mission.

These include the mission to understand more about the solar wind, the stream of charged particles flowing constantly from our star. Aditya-L1 will help in measuring the composition of the solar wind and attempt to check its acceleration speed. Despite the complexity of the Aditya-L1 mission, ISRO worked on achieving such a milestone at only a cheap budget. The entire mission goal is accomplished at about 3.8 billion rupees ($4.6 million US).

What’s Next for the Aditya-L1 Mission?

ISRO revealed that Aditya-L1 will reach the L1 point in the next months if everything moves according to plan. Upon arrival at its final destination, the 3,260-pound (1,480 kilograms) solar observatory will begin to observe the Universe and unlock more mysteries for mankind.

“A satellite placed in the halo orbit around the L1 point has the major advantage of continuously viewing the sun without any occultation/eclipses,” ISRO officials wrote in an Aditya-L1 mission description. “This will provide a greater advantage of observing the solar activities and its effect on space weather in real-time.”

NASA and the European Space Agency partnered and launched the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) in December 1995. Hence, Aditya-L1 will be joining this 28-year-old observatory in L1 in the next four months to unlock more mysteries about the Sun.


ISRO successfully launched its Aditya-L1 mission on September 2nd, intending to study the sun from the L1 point between Earth and the Sun. The agency announced that its space probe will arrive at this point in the next four months. The outcome of this mission will likely update our knowledge about the Sun and its surroundings. In addition, you can use any of these telescopes and binoculars to watch the Sun and other Cosmic Objects in the Solar system.

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