In the early hours of Tuesday (19 September), the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) sent India's first-ever solar probe sailing through space towards its destination — the Lagrange point 1 (L1).
Enabling this push out of Earth orbit was the trans-Lagrangean point 1 insertion (TL1I) manoeuvre, which caps off the five planned Earth-bound manoeuvres.
"The spacecraft is now on a trajectory that will take it to the Sun-Earth L1 point," ISRO said. After about 110 days, Aditya-L1 will be injected into an orbit around L1.
One of five such points for the Sun-Earth system, L1 is a spot in space where gravity from the Sun and Earth balance the orbital motion of a satellite.
A spacecraft at this point stays in a fixed position relative to the Sun and Earth. It’s a kind of a gravitational sweet spot. Here, it doesn't take a lot of energy (fuel) to keep a spacecraft there. (More about L1 here)
The Indian space agency said that with this latest manoeuvre it had successfully transferred an object on a trajectory towards another celestial body or location in space five times in a row.
The other four instances comprise the three Chandrayaan Moon missions and the one Mangalyaan Mars mission.
Meanwhile, Aditya-L1 already initiated science operations in Earth orbit. ISRO provided a first look at the scientific data on Monday (18 September).
Karan Kamble writes on science and technology. He occasionally wears the hat of a video anchor for Swarajya's online video programmes.
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