India’s first solar mission in 2020: ISRO chairman

Kanyakumari: India’s first mission to study the sun, Aditya-L1, will be launched in the first half of next year, chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Dr K Sivan told reporters at Sarakkalvilai in Kanyakumari district. “There are still a lot of things that are to be learnt about the sun,” Sivan said. According to ISRO, Aditya-L1 mission is expected to be inserted in a halo orbit around the Lagrangian point 1 (L1) – which is 1.5 million km from the earth – so that there is a major advantage of continuously viewing the sun without any occultation/ eclipses. Aditya-L1 was meant to observe only the solar corona. When asked about ISRO’s contribution at the time of Fani, Dr Sivan said that satellite images helped in the accurate prediction of the cyclone. “It helped in more efficient evacuation and potentially reduce the loss of life as much as possible,” he added. The ISRO chairman also stated that the whole world was eagerly waiting to see Chandrayaan 2 land at the predetermined site close to the south pole, which had not been explored by anyone before. He added that so far only Rovers used to land in the equator region. Chandrayaan 2 is set to be launched between July 9 and 16 and the expected moon landing is on September 6. Dr K Sivan added that the design phase for India’s human spaceflight mission, Gaganyaan has been completed and is set to be launched before 2022. Dr K Sivan also spoke about ISRO’s programme Yuvika 2019 through which school students would be taken to ISRO for a two-week stint and how it will benefit them. “We’re planning to conduct it every year,” he said. Dr K Sivan said that ISRO has also so far given Tamil Nadu a total of 250 NavIC devices that provides information about weather and real-time updates for fishermen.

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