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India Successfully Launches 1st Solar Mission

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has confirmed that India successfully launched its maiden solar mission named “Aditya-L1” on Saturday, onboard the PSLV-C57 rocket (in XL configuration).

The country’s ambitious mission to study the Sun was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

Aditya-L1’s separation from the launch vehicle is projected to happen nearly 63 minutes after the rocket blasts off from the second launch pad at Sriharikota. This is said to be one of the longest PSLV missions ever undertaken.

The launch was telecast live on domestic TV media channels, besides various social media platforms of the ISRO. Science and Technology Minister Jitendra Singh and ISRO Chairman S. Somnath were among those present at the launch event.

The solar mission will take nearly a 125-day-long journey to reach its destination “Lagrange Point 1”, which is at a distance of nearly 1.5 million kilometers from the Earth.

The estimated cost of the solar mission is said to be around 4 billion Indian Rupees (around 48.35 million U.S. dollars). With as many as seven payloads, the mission is fitted with a solar panel to draw energy from the Sun for its normal functioning.

“The Aditya-L1 will be the first Indian space-based observatory-class solar mission to unlock the mysteries of the Sun,” the ISRO announced earlier.

According to the Indian space agency, the major objectives of the solar mission are understanding the Coronal Heating and Solar Wind Acceleration, initiation of Coronal Mass Ejection (CME), flares and near-Earth space weather, coupling and dynamics of the solar atmosphere, and the solar wind distribution and temperature anisotropy.