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Aditya-L1 spacecraft achieves successful deployment of magnetometer boom in space: What it means?

India's Aditya-L1 spacecraft successfully deployed a 6-meter magnetometer boom in space, a critical step for its mission to study the Sun's chromosphere, corona, and interplanetary magnetic field.

Edited By: Vishal Upadhyay New Delhi Updated on: January 25, 2024 18:31 IST
aditya l1, isro, aditya l1 mission, india solar mission, isro solar mission, space news, sun mission
Image Source : FILE Representational Image

On January 11, 2024, the Aditya-L1 spacecraft achieved an important milestone by deploying its 6-meter-long magnetometer boom in space at Lagrange Point-1. This accomplishment occurred 132 days after the spacecraft's launch while stationed in a halo orbit at the Lagrange point L-1.

Significance of the Magnetometer Boom

The magnetometer boom is a vital component of the Aditya-L1 mission, focused on studying the Sun's chromosphere, corona, and interplanetary magnetic field. The boom carries two advanced fluxgate magnetometer sensors crucial for measuring low-intensity magnetic fields in space.

Dual Sensors for Precision

According to ISRO, these sensors are strategically positioned at distances of 3 and 6 meters from the spacecraft's main body to minimise interference from its own magnetic field. The use of dual sensors enables a more accurate estimation of this influence and cancels out any magnetic effects originating from the spacecraft.

Innovative Boom Design

Constructed from carbon fibre-reinforced polymer, the boom features an articulated mechanism with five segments connected by spring-driven hinge mechanisms. This design allows the boom to fold and deploy accordion-style, controlled by a patented Kevlar closed control loop mechanism. During deployment, the hinges lock the segments into their operational configuration.

Flawless Deployment Operation

The boom was securely held in place during the launch phase by two hold-downs, transferring launch loads to the spacecraft body. The initiation of deployment involved activating a thermal cutter-based release system upon command.

Telemetry data confirmed the successful release of the hold-downs, initial motion of the boom, and locking of all hinges. The in-orbit deployment time was impressively recorded at approximately 9 seconds, falling within the predicted range of 8 to 12 seconds. All telemetry indications for hinge locking and hold-down release were reported within nominal parameters, indicating a flawless deployment operation.

Advancing Solar Physics Research

This successful deployment represents a significant advancement for the Aditya-L1 mission. The fully deployed magnetometer boom will now facilitate scientists in gathering precise measurements of the interplanetary magnetic field, contributing to our understanding of solar phenomena and their impact on space weather. 

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