ISRO Conducts Trajectory Correction Maneuver for Aditya L1 Spacecraft

  • 11 Oct 2023

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has recently executed a Trajectory Correction Maneuver (TCM) for its spacecraft Aditya L1, which is en route to the Sun Earth Lagrangian point 1 (L1).

Key Points

  • Aditya L1's Long Journey: Aditya L1 is embarking on a 110-day journey through space, making it one of the lengthiest missions for an Indian spacecraft since the Mars mission in 2013-2014.
  • Necessity of TCM: Unlike lunar missions, which cover a shorter distance in about three weeks, deep space missions to locations like Mars and Lagrangian Point 1 require several months due to the significantly greater distances involved.
  • Trajectory Correction in Deep Space: Deep space missions necessitate trajectory correction plans that employ orbit determination calculations to ensure the spacecraft stays on its intended path.
  • Timing and Fuel Conservation: The timing of trajectory corrections is crucial. Near destinations like the moon require corrections within a week, while missions to more distant locations, like Aditya L1, must make corrections as early as possible.
  • Smaller corrections involve brief engine firings to conserve fuel, while larger corrections require longer engine burns.
  • The Challenge of Orbiting L1: Aditya-L1's mission involves orbiting around L1, a balanced gravitational point between the Earth and the Sun.
  • This orbit is irregular and requires careful maintenance. It operates in three dimensions, unlike orbits around planetary bodies, which are typically two-dimensional.
  • Past TCMs: Trajectory Correction Manoeuvres are primarily needed for deep space missions and have been performed in the past for such missions.