Race for Sun heats up: These are various solar missions

With the upcoming launch of ISRO's Aditya-L1 mission on September 2, India has become part of a small group of nations to send missions to the Sun in the last few years.

| Updated on: Aug 30 2023, 10:10 IST
India's Aditya L1 mission to study the Sun, CME, solar flares and more
ISRO Aditya-L1
1/6 ISRO has unveiled its upcoming major project, the PSLV-C57/Aditya-L1 Mission. It will be India’s first space based mission that will explore Sun and space weather. (SDO/NASA)
ISRO Aditya-L1
2/6 ISRO shared on X (Formally Twitter), “Aditya-L1, the first space-based Indian observatory to study the Sun, is getting ready for the launch. The satellite realised at the U R Rao Satellite Centre (URSC), Bengaluru, has arrived at SDSC-SHAR, Sriharikota.” (Nasa)
ISRO Aditya-L1
3/6 The mission’s name is Sun's nucleus, Aditya-L1 looks forward to providing unmatched insights into the Sun's actions. Its method involves placing itself within a halo orbit encircling the Sun-Earth system's Lagrange point 1 (L1), which is approximately 1.5 million kilometres distant from Earth. (NASA)
ISRO Aditya-L1
4/6 The spacecraft will contain seven advanced payloads that are designed to study different layers of the Sun including the photosphere and chromosphere to the outermost layer, the corona. These payloads have electromagnetic, particle and magnetic field detectors. (NASA/SDO)
ISRO Aditya-L1
5/6 The capability for four payloads to collect accurate and concentrated observations of the Sun. Simultaneously, the remaining three payloads will investigate particles and fields at the Lagrange point. (NASA)
ISRO Aditya-L1
6/6 Aditya-L1's mission has the ability to directly capture Sun from unique points without letting eclipses or occultation in its way. (NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Steve Gribben)
ISRO Aditya-L1
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The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is set to launch its solar mission Aditya-L1 on September 2. (HT_PRINT)

As the Indian Space Research Organisation set to launch its solar mission Aditya-L1 on September 2, following are some important missions launched by space agencies of different countries exploring the Sun:


National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the US space agency, launched the Parker Solar Probe in August 2018. In December 2021, Parker flew through the Sun's upper atmosphere, the corona, and sampled particles and magnetic fields there. This was the first time ever that a spacecraft touched the Sun, according to NASA's official website.

In February 2020, the NASA joined hands with the European Space Agency (ESA) and launched The Solar Orbiter to collect data to find out how the Sun created and controlled the constantly changing space environment throughout the solar system.

Other active solar missions by the NASA are Advanced Composition Explorer launched in August, 1997; Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory in October, 2006; Solar Dynamics Observatory in February, 2010; and Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph launched in June, 2013.

Also, in December, 1995, NASA, ESA and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) jointly launched the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO).


JAXA, the Japan's space agency, launched its first solar observation satellite, Hinotori (ASTRO-A), in 1981. The objective was to study solar flares using hard X-rays, according to JAXA's official website.

JAXA's other solar exploratory missions are Yohkoh (SOLAR-A) launched in 1991; SOHO (along with NASA and ESA) in 1995; and Transient Region and Coronal Explorer (TRACE), along with NASA, in 1998.

In 2006, Hinode (SOLAR-B) was launched, which was the successor to Yohkoh (SOLAR-A), the orbiting solar observatory. Japan launched it in collaboration with the US and the UK. The objective of Hinode, an observatory satellite, is to study the impact of the Sun on the Earth.


In October, 1990, the ESA launched Ulysses to study the environment of space above and below the poles of the Sun. Other than solar missions launched in collaboration with the NASA and the JAXA, the ESA launched Proba-2 in October, 2001.

Proba-2 is the second of the Proba series, building on nearly eight years of successful Proba-1 experience, even as Proba-1 was not a solar exploratory mission.

On-Board Proba-2 were four experiments, two of them were solar observation experiments.

Proba stands for Project for On-Board Autonomy. Upcoming solar missions of the ESA include Proba-3, scheduled for 2024 and Smile, scheduled for 2025.


The Advanced Space-based Solar Observatory (ASO-S) was successfully launched by National Space Science Center, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), on October 8, 2022.

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First Published Date: 30 Aug, 10:07 IST
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