India’s star - Aditya-L1  rises

At 4pm on Saturday, India made history by parking its observatory — Aditya-L1 — in an orbit around Lagrange Point 1, about 1.5 million kilometres from us, setting the stage for at least five years of observations.

Scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) performed a series of manoeuvres to place the craft in its intended halo orbit on Saturday, 126 days after the mission was launched on September 2 last year.

“Halo-Orbit Insertion (HOI) of its solar observatory spacecraft, Aditya-L1 was accomplished at 4pm on January 6,” the space agency said after the insertion.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the achievement as “landmark” as he congratulated the scientists for their “relentless dedication”.

The insertion of Aditya-L1 into the Halo Orbit presents a critical phase for the mission, which demanded precise navigation and control, the space agency said in a statement.