India launches Adityal-L1 rocket to explore the sun.

India launches Adityal-L1 rocket to explore the sun.

India on Saturday (2nd) launched its first endeavor to study the sun when the rocket carrying the Aditya-L1 spacecraft lifted off shortly before noon.

The rocket roared aloft at 11:50 hours from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. It will take 109 days to reach its target position 1.5 million km from the Earth, the closest that it can go where it will be able to maintain its orbit without being captured by the sun's gravity and pulled to destruction. The Earth is 151 million km from the sun.

On board Aditya-L1 are scientific instruments that will conduct long-range studies of solar activity. Its mission is expected to last 6 months.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is fresh from its success last week in India becoming the first nation to land a spacecraft in the south polar region of the moon.

India is fast catching up to other nations that are exploring deep space – USA, Russia and China. The India Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has launched nearly 100 rockets since 1975, mainly carrying satellites into orbit around the Earth. Its first deep space attempt was the successful Mangalyaan mission in 2013 which put a satellite into orbit around Mars.

This was followed by three moon missions, the latest of which Chandrayaan-3 on August 23 landed a rover to explore the unexplored south polar region of the moon.