Showing posts with label Space. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Space. Show all posts

Friday, September 8, 2023

History being Made: PSLV-C57/ADITYA-L1 Mission

This is a first-hand account of my friend Shriram and his children Vedika and Vihaan. They traveled from Bangalore to Sriharikota, to see the launch of Aditya.

Big thanks to Shriram for taking out time to share his unique experience with us, so that we can relieve this rare and historic moment through his storytelling.

September 2nd, 2023, 11.50 AM IST was the moment when PSLV…fired off into the sky carrying Aditya.

I and my kids – Vedika and Vihaan, along with a couple of friends, were witnesses in person to this historical moment. My chest swelled up with pride as the 10,000-plus crowd cheered the space launch by ISRO at Sriharikota. The entire crowd cheered as the spaceship blasted off the Earth into the sky and disappeared within a matter of minutes.

The cheers and claps of the crowd were a celebration of science and India and the achievements of the scientific community of India.

We had obtained an ISRO pass for 6 just a couple of days before 2nd September. On the morning of 2nd September, we reached the launch site by 8:30 AM and had a short walk from the car park to the viewing area. After passing through a couple of routine security checks, we were in the stadium. The viewing area, much to our surprise and disappointment, is a stadium that houses a space museum and an AR/VR center, together called the Space Theme Park. The space museum houses several writeups and scale models of PSLV, GSLV, and satellites (see the photos). The disappointment was largely because inside the stadium, all we could see were a compound wall and trees beyond. There were many food stalls inside the stadium and we quickly bought food and some soft drinks as this was our breakfast.

Soon the crowds started building up with a majority of school kids coming in. There was a dais and a large screen in front of the stadium. On the large screen, one could see the visuals of the spacecraft, and the countdown to launch had already begun. Kids from various schools were invited to the dais to speak. It was good to see that many kids were brave and spoke confidently and knowledgeably on the launch and ISRO. The compere ensured that the crowd was kept entertained and involved. The carnival mood and the Josh of the crowd reached a crescendo as the countdown reached its final minutes. As the crowd roared, PSLV lifted off at 11:50 am and we saw the rocket fly into space with a roar and a blast. The roar of the rocket engines needs to be experienced to understand the power it packs!

It was an awesome couple of minutes after a scorching wait of 4 hours.

Life is lived in Moments, and surely viewing a space launch was one such :)

After 12 noon, the crowd started dispersing taking home memories of viewing history being made.

Technical Aspects (source: ISRO Press Release):

On September 02, 2023, at 11:50 hrs, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C57) successfully launched the Aditya-L 1 spacecraft, from the second launch pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), Sriharikota.

After a flight duration of 63 minutes and 20 seconds, the Aditya-L1 spacecraft was successfully injected into an elliptical orbit of 235x19500 km around the Earth.

Aditya-L-1 is the first Indian space-based observatory to study the Sun from a halo orbit around the first Sun-Earth Lagrangian point (L-1), which is located roughly 1.5 million km from Earth.

Aditya-L 1 spacecraft will undergo four earth-bound orbital maneuvers before being placed in the transfer orbit towards the Lagrange point L 1. Aditya-L 1 is expected to arrive at the intended orbit at the L 1 point after about 127 days.

Aditya-L-1 carries seven scientific payloads indigenously developed by ISRO and national research laboratories including the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Bengaluru, and Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune.

These payloads are instrumental in studying the photosphere, chromosphere, and the Sun's outermost layers (the corona), utilizing electromagnetic particle and magnetic field detectors.

Traveling from Bangalore

There are 3 possible routes to go from

1. Drive of 7-8 hours from Bangalore via Tirupati and stay overnight at Srikalahasti or Sullurpet. Both these are small towns and lack quality hotels.

2. Drive of 7-8 hours from Bangalore via Tirupati and Chittoor and stay overnight near Sri City at Tada. There are a few good quality hotels.

3. Go to Chennai by road or train and stay overnight at Chennai 

Things to know

1. Carry an umbrella and/or wear a hat.

2. Carry water bottles and keep yourself hydrated. Water is also supplied inside the stadium in large canisters where you can refill your water bottle.

3. Arrive early to avoid the crowd to get into the stadium.

Gone with the wind, in couple of seconds

Just before entering the stadium

At the stadium, the spaceship is hidden behind the trees

Giant screen displaying the countdown and other parameters

My friend Shriram

Vihaan ready to takeoff 

Vihaan = Buzz Lightyear

Shriram, Vedika and Vihaan

Vihaan ready for launch

Carrying memories of a lifetime

Thank you Shriram for your thoughtful gesture of sharing your experience with all of us. The very thought of hearing the roaring sound of the rocket and seeing it fly into space, gives us goosebumps. It was wonderful to experience these moments through your eyes.