November 29, 2023

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Astronaut Chris Hadfield on the ISRO Sun Aditya-L1 mission

Astronaut Chris Hadfield on the ISRO Sun Aditya-L1 mission

Aditya-L1 to be launched by PSLV-C57 from Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh today (File)


As the countdown to India’s first solar mission, Aditya-L1, to the sun begins, former ISS commander Chris Hadfield hailed India’s “technological prowess” and said everyone on Earth “relies on technology”.

Sun’s India mission is scheduled to launch at 11:50 am today from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, with launch exercises and internal checks of the vehicle completed.

Aditya-L1 is India’s first solar space observatory and will be launched by PSLV-C57. It will carry seven different payloads for a detailed study of the Sun, four of which will monitor sunlight and the other three will measure in situ parameters of plasma and magnetic fields.

In an exclusive interview with ANI, former astronaut Chris Hadfield talks about how the results of the Aditya L-1 mission will affect human spaceflight.

“So when we put something like the Aditya L-1 between us and the sun to sense those things, to better understand how the sun works and the threats it poses to Earth, it’s good for everyone to protect us as human beings. But also, of course, our electric grid, our internet,” he added. And all the thousands of satellites we depend on are in orbit.”

Aditya-L1 will be placed in a halo orbit around Lagrangian Point 1 (or L1), which is 1.5 million km from Earth in the direction of the Sun. It is expected to cover this distance within four months.

Echoing the international space fraternity’s predictions of the Aditya L-1, Mr. Hadfield said, “Well, every single person on Earth relies on technology just to have electricity in their homes and businesses to have communications… We really do depend on this complex and interconnected global system of electricity and data.” … It’s really useful information, not just for ISRO and not just for the Indian space programme, but something that’s kind of vital space weather for the world.”

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The main objectives of the Indian Solar Mission include studying the physics of the solar corona and its heating mechanism, solar wind acceleration, solar atmosphere coupling and dynamics, solar wind distribution and temperature variation, the origin of coronal mass emission (CME) and flares and near-Earth space weather.

The sun’s atmosphere, the corona, is what we see during a total solar eclipse. The Bengaluru-based Indian Institute of Astrophysics said a coronagraph like VELC is an instrument that cuts off light from the sun’s disk and can therefore image the faint corona at all times.

Chris Hadfield described the successful landing of the Indian Space Research Organization’s Chandrayaan-3 moon mission as “strong evidence of the growing capability of Indian technology”.

“It is a historic moment for India and for the world.”

He also praised India’s technological progress, saying, “This example of landing on the moon, sending a probe to the sun, or at least observing the sun and preparing Indian astronauts to fly in space, sets a really clear example for everyone in the world.” India, but for everyone else around the world, that’s where Indian technological prowess is now and kind of hints at all that’s to come.”

On the budget for India’s mission to the moon (Chandrayaan-3), former ISS commander Chris Hadfield said: “It’s really important to put the budget in perspective…if you compare it to everything else that the Indian government is doing.” If you compare it to the amount spent on food distribution or the rest of the health and welfare of the Indian people, it’s like 100 out of 1% of the entire budget… Compared to what other countries spend for doing something similar, it’s one of India’s great strengths too.. It makes it (India) very competitive… The inexpensive and successful way India landed on the moon, is proof positive for all the Indian space companies that they can do something too and for a lot less money than the rest of the world, and that’s a really good business model .”

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In the context of driving technology in an economic way to turn it into a profitable space business, the former ISS commander also said, “India is in a really strong position to do that.”

“I think Prime Minister Narendra Modi has seen that for a number of years. He’s very much directly involved in the Indian space and research organization…so it’s a really smart move on the part of the Indian leadership right now, to push it, to be that.” “We are developing it, but we are also in the process of privatizing it so that companies and therefore the Indian people can benefit from it,” Hadfield said.

“Apollo Murders” was written by Chris Hadfield, also an astronaut, and the next installment of “The Defector” is due out in October.

“My new book is ‘Maverick’, and it comes out on October 10th. It’s a thriller, alternate history fantasy. Almost everything that happened in the book is real, but it’s so much fun weaving a plot between the astronauts, the test pilots, the space program, and the nuclear program that was going on.”