India’s Aditya L-1 probe, designed for solar observation, has entered the second phase of its mission as it travels towards the Lagrange Point.
The probe’s orbital path around Earth was modified at 2:30 am on the previous day. This crucial maneuver, known as “trans-Lagrangian point insertion,” involved activating the propulsion system, referred to as “Lamengines.” Thanks to this maneuver, the probe successfully exited Earth’s gravitational influence and is currently en route to the Lagrange Point. This specific point, situated 1.5 million kilometers above Earth, is where the gravitational forces of both Earth and the Sun are balanced, allowing the probe to maintain a stable orbit without being affected by the gravitational pull of other celestial bodies like planets or stars. If one were to stand at the Lagrange Point, they would complete an orbit around the Sun in synchrony with Earth, affording them the opportunity to observe solar eclipses. Aditya’s solar observations will be conducted while it orbits this point.
The phase leading up to the Lagrange Point is known as the “cruise phase” and is expected to last 110 days. During this phase, several of the probe’s seven scientific instruments will be operational. Mission control centers in Bangalore, Fiji, Mauritius, and the Andaman Islands will oversee this cruise phase. Aditya is anticipated to reach the Lagrange Point by January.
Aditya was launched on September 2nd, and its orbit around Earth has been adjusted four times, gradually raising it to a quarter of a million kilometers. The recent course correction utilized the momentum gained during its orbit around Earth to transition onto the desired trajectory. This mission marks the first instance of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) sending a probe to orbit a theoretical point in space and signifies India’s fifth interplanetary mission.