Indian Space Research Organisation’s Aditya-L1 mission is ready to launch on the 2 of the upcoming month (September). Space agencies worldwide are exploring the Sun, including the US’s Parker Solar Probe, introduced in 2018, which examined particles and magnetic fields in the corona, the Sun’s upper atmosphere, in December 2021. Japan’s JAXA launched Hinotori in 1981, and the ESA launched Proba-2 in 2001 to investigate space above and below the Sun’s poles. China’s National Space Science Centre launched the Advanced Space-based Solar Observatory (ASO-S) on October 8, 2022.
India will launch Aditya-L1; competing missions will explore the Sun
On the 2 of the next month, India plans to launch the Aditya L1 solar mission. There have been many solar mission programs introduced in the past.
The Top Solar Missions
As the Indian Space Research Organisation prepares to launch its solar mission Aditya-L1 on the 2nd of the next month, the following significant initiatives launched by space agencies of various countries are exploring the Sun:
US: The Parker Solar Probe went into orbit by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the US space agency, in August 2018. Parker examined particles and magnetic fields in the corona, the Sun’s upper atmosphere, in December 2021. According to the NASA website, this was the first time a spacecraft had come close to the Sun.
To gather information about how the Sun formed and oversaw the constantly morphing space environment throughout the solar system, NASA collaborated with the European Space Agency (ESA) and established The Solar Orbiter in February 2020.
NASA’s other ongoing solar missions
Advanced Composition Explorer, launched in August 1997; Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory, unveiled in October 2006; Solar Dynamics Observatory, introduced in February 2010; and Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, sent in June 2013, are some of NASA’s other ongoing solar missions.
Japan: In 1981, JAXA, the country of Japan’s space agency, launched Hinotori (ASTRO-A), the first solar observation satellite. “Using hard X-rays, the goal was to study solar flares,” according to the official JAXA website.
JAXA’s other solar exploration missions
Other solar exploration missions by JAXA include Yohkoh (SOLAR-A), introduced in 1991; SOHO, created in 1995 in collaboration with NASA and ESA; and Transient Region and Coronal Explorer (TRACE), unveiled in 1998 in partnership with NASA.
Europe: To investigate the space above and below the Sun’s poles, the ESA launched Ulysses in October 1990. The ESA unveiled Proba-2 in October 2001 in addition to solar missions that took off in association with NASA and JAXA.
Even though Proba-1 was not a solar exploration mission, Proba-2 is the second in the Proba series and builds on nearly eight years of excellent Proba-1 experience. Four experiments on board Proba-2, two of which involved solar observation.
The project for On-Board Autonomy is known as Proba. Proba-3 and Smile are two upcoming ESA solar missions that will be due to launch in 2024 and 2025, respectively.
China: On October 8, 2022, the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ National Space Science Centre successfully launched the Advanced Space-based Solar Observatory (ASO-S).