ISRO announces its first solar mission


After successful Lunar and Martian missions which were done in a record budget, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has announced its first solar mission, to study the sun and help address some of the outstanding problems in solar physics.

Titled Aditya – L1, the mission is expected to be launched during 2019-20, and is said to give insights into the dynamic processes of the sun.

Conceived originally as Aditya 1 mission carrying one payload, the mission has now been renamed Aditya – L1 as the satellite will be placed at the Lagrangian point 1 (L1) of the Sun-Earth system. This orbit enables continuous observation of the Sun without any occultation or eclipses.  The L1 orbit is 1.5 million KM from the sun. The satellite is also said to carry six payloads for additional objectives.

To be launched on board the PSLV-XL launch vehicle, from the spaceport at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, the project is said to cost Rs. 378.53 crores; which was approved by the Minister of State, Department of space, Jitendra Singh.

ISRO said Aditya-1 was meant to observe only the solar corona, while Aditya-L1 with additional experiments can now provide observations of Sun’s Photosphere (soft and hard X-ray), Chromosphere (UV) and corona (Visible and near infrared).

In addition, particle payloads will study particle flux emanating from the Sun and reaching the L1 orbit; while the magnetometer payload will measure the variation in magnetic field strength at the halo orbit around L1.