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Aditya-L1 Completes First Halo Orbit Around Sun-Earth L1 Point

New Delhi: The Aditya-L1 spacecraft, India’s pioneering solar observatory, has successfully completed its first halo orbit around the Sun-Earth L1 Lagrangian point. Launched on September 2, 2023, and inserted into its targeted halo orbit on January 6, 2024, the Aditya-L1 mission represents a significant milestone in India’s space exploration endeavors. The spacecraft completes a revolution around the L1 point every 178 days.

Throughout its journey in the halo orbit, the Aditya-L1 spacecraft encounters various perturbing forces, necessitating regular station-keeping maneuvers to maintain its trajectory. The spacecraft underwent its first two station-keeping maneuvers on February 22 and June 7, 2024. Today’s third station-keeping maneuver has successfully ensured the continuation of its travel into the second halo orbit path around L1.

Navigating the complex dynamics of the halo orbit involves understanding the various perturbing forces acting on the spacecraft, which has enabled precise trajectory determination and planning of orbit maneuvers. The successful completion of today’s maneuver validates the state-of-the-art flight dynamics software developed in-house at URSC-ISRO for the Aditya-L1 mission.

The spacecraft’s trajectory around the Lagrangian point L1 is a three-dimensional path, with the blue trajectory in the accompanying figure representing the orbit. This figure shows the projection of the orbit in the X-Y plane. The station-keeping maneuvers, labeled SK#1, SK#2, and SK#3, are crucial for maintaining the spacecraft’s path. The final thruster firing (SK#3) on July 2, 2024, placed the spacecraft back in the required orbit. Had this maneuver not been accurately executed, the spacecraft would have deviated, as indicated by the green trajectory in the figure. The X-Y axes are marked in kilometers, with the Lagrangian point L1 at the origin.

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