India's Sun mission reaches final destination

# 06 January 2024 18:11 (UTC +04:00)

India's first solar observation mission has reached its final destination, APA reports citing BBC.

On Saturday, Aditya-L1 reached the spot in space from where it will be able to continuously watch the Sun.

The spacecraft has been travelling towards the Sun for four months since lift-off on 2 September.

Space agency ISRO launched it just days after India made history by becoming the first to land near the Moon's south pole.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the mission was "a landmark" and an "extraordinary feat".

India's first space-based mission to study the solar system's biggest object is named after Surya - the Hindu god of the Sun, who is also known as Aditya.

L1 stands for Lagrange point 1 - the exact place between the Sun and Earth where the spacecraft has now reached. According to the European Space Agency, a Lagrange point is a spot where the gravitational forces of two large objects - such as the Sun and the Earth - cancel each other out, allowing a spacecraft to "hover". L1 is located 1.5 million km (932,000 miles) from the Earth, which is 1% of the Earth-Sun distance.

The final manoeuvre was performed on Saturday at around 16:00 India time (10:30 GMT) to place Aditya in L1's orbit, the Times of India reported. ISRO chief S Somanath previously told the BBC that the agency would trap the craft in orbit and would occasionally need to perform more manoeuvres to keep it in place.

Once Aditya-L1 reaches this "parking spot" it will be able to orbit the Sun at the same rate as the Earth. From this vantage point it will be able to watch the Sun constantly, even during eclipses and occultations, and carry out scientific studies.

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