Aditya L1 Satellite Marks Significant Progress, Commences Solar Wind Observations
Written by Sanjay Kumar
- Aditya L1 satellite observes solar winds, a major achievement for India’s sun mission.
- ISRO’s ASPEX activates SWIS, capturing vital data on proton and alpha particles.
- Aditya-L1 advances India’s space exploration, studying solar corona and near-earth space weather.
- Launch date: 2 September 2023
- Cost: 5.5 crores USD (2018)
- Manufacturers: ISRO, The Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA)
- Launch site: Satish Dhawan Space Centre
- Launch mass: 1,475 kg (3,252 lb)
- Bus: I-1K
- COSPAR ID: 2023-132A
In a significant milestone for India’s space exploration efforts, the Aditya L1 mission, designed to study the sun, has entered a crucial phase by initiating observations of solar winds. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced the commencement of operations for the Aditya Solar wind Particle Experiment (ASPEX) payload onboard the satellite, signaling a leap forward in understanding solar phenomena.
The ASPEX payload consists of two key instruments: the Solar wind Ion Spectrometer (SWIS) and STEPS (SupraThermal and Energetic Particle Spectrometer). While STEPS began its operations on September 10, the SWIS instrument was activated more recently on Saturday, demonstrating optimal performance, according to ISRO.
ISRO took to X (formerly Twitter) to share an image illustrating the energy variations in proton and alpha particle counts captured by the new payload. This breakthrough in solar wind observation is a crucial step in unraveling the mysteries of the sun and its impact on space weather.
The Solar Wind Ion Spectrometer (SWIS), the second instrument in the Aditya Solar wind Particle Experiment (ASPEX) payload is operational.
The histogram illustrates the energy variations in proton and alpha particle counts captured by SWIS over 2-days.… pic.twitter.com/I5BRBgeYY5
— ISRO (@isro) December 2, 2023
Aditya-L1, which was launched from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on September 2, has outlined several key objectives for its mission. These include studying the physics of the solar corona and its heating mechanism, solar wind acceleration, coupling and dynamics of the solar atmosphere, solar wind distribution and temperature anisotropy, as well as investigating the origin of Coronal Mass Ejections (CME) and flares and near-earth space weather.
The successful activation of SWIS marks a pivotal moment in achieving these mission objectives. As India propels itself into the forefront of solar research, the data collected by Aditya L1 is expected to contribute significantly to our understanding of the sun’s behavior and its potential impact on Earth’s space environment.
It’s worth noting that India’s space endeavors extend beyond Aditya L1, with other ongoing projects, including a human spaceflight program aiming to launch astronauts into orbit by 2025. The country’s commitment to advancing space exploration reflects its growing prowess in the global space community.
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