Aditya L1: LPSC Propulsion System will play an important role in India’s first Sun mission, know what it is


ISRO Aditya L1 Propulsion System: The liquid propulsion system developed by a major branch of ISRO here will play an important role in carrying out the country’s first sun mission Aditya L1. The satellite for the study of the Sun will be launched on Saturday from Sriharikota through the reliable rocket PSLV. It will take 125 days for the satellite to reach the respective point L1 which is 1.5 million kilometers away from the earth.

Liquid Propulsion Systems Center (LPSC) since its inception in 1987 has been a proven center of success in all space missions of ISRO. Liquid and cryogenic propulsion systems have been the backbone of India’s space ambitions, playing a key role in both the PSLV and GSLV rockets. In addition, the liquid apogee motor developed by LPSC has been instrumental in satellite/spacecraft propulsion in major space achievements of India, be it the three Chandrayaan missions or the 2014 Mars mission.

Dr AK Ashraf, Deputy Director, LPSC said, “Now we are playing an important role in Aditya L1 mission – Aditya spacecraft. It has a very interesting, very useful thruster called the LAM (Liquid Apogee Motor), which provides 440 Newtons of thrust. He said that the LAM will be very helpful in setting the Aditya spacecraft in the Lagrangian orbit located about 1.5 million kilometers away from the Earth.

Aditya-L1 is designed for the purpose of remote observation of the heliosphere and actual observation of the solar wind at L1 (Sun-Earth Lagrangian point). It will be launched by ISRO through Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C57. According to a PTI-language report, when the role of the launch vehicle ends, LAM Aditya will take over the propulsion of the spacecraft.

The LAM developed by LPSC is highly reliable, and has an impressive record of being activated after 300 days of inactivity during the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) to study Mars in 2014. At that time it was kind of a surprise, said a senior scientist at LPSC. He said that similar to MOM (Mars mission), the LAM in the Aditya mission will be in an inactive state for most of the 125-day flight.

The scientist said, the role of LAM is to take the spacecraft to the Lagrangian point. LAM thrusters are used solely for propulsion. There is no braking involved, as we do not have to do any soft landing. In addition to the main LAM, the LPSC has supplied eight numbers of 22-Newton thrusters and four numbers of 10-Newton thrusters. When the LAM is used for orbital correction, a smaller thruster is used for altitude change.

In the Aditya mission, the second and fourth stages of the PSLV flight, known as PS-2 and PS-4, are supplied entirely by LPSC. In addition, control systems such as SITVC (Secondary Injection Thrust Vector Control) and RCS (Roll Control System) have been completely indigenously developed by LPSC and supplied to the launch vehicle, Ashraf said.

The SITVC system is what manages the operation of PSLV and the RCS minimizes external disturbances to help keep the launch vehicle on its planned trajectory. Ashraf said that the performance of PS2 and PS4 is very important for the success of Surya Mission. LPSC has also supplied several flow control components for the launch vehicle.

Ashraf said, any small problem in any system can cause a big accident for this entire mission. That’s why we are taking the utmost care in delivering each and every system. As far as the Aditya L1 mission is concerned, all the thrusters are very important. Hence we are ensuring 100 percent performance with hassle free operation. The thing that boosts the confidence of these scientists is that it has proven technology which is being used in the Aditya mission.

This is the 59th mission of PSLV and technology has worked flawlessly in almost all the missions so far. The scientist said, satellite thrusters are equipped with the capability to prove themselves for all satellite missions. That’s why we are sure. Although the Aditya spacecraft will go to study the Sun, there is nothing to worry about temperature changes or the safety of the materials used. An ISRO official said, the temperature is similar to the temperature of space.

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