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India successfully launches its first solar observation satellite

India’s space agency ISRO tonight (September 2, 2023 in India) successfully used its PSLV rocket with six strap-on boosters to place in orbit its first solar observation satellite, Aditya-L1, lifting off from its coastal Sriharikota spaceport.

The spacecraft will eventually maneuver itself to the L1 point about one million miles closer to the Sun, where it will make continuous observations of the star’s visible hemisphere, using seven different instruments. Its observations will supplement those of the SOHO solar observatory (also located at the L1 point), which was launched in 1995 and is long overdue for replacement, or at least some redundancy.

For India, this was the seventh launch in 2023, which ties its previous annual launch high achieved in both 2016 and 2018. The country however has three more launches tentatively scheduled for this year, though none has as yet a specific launch date.

The leaders in the 2023 launch race:

60 SpaceX
38 China
12 Russia
7 Rocket Lab
7 India

In the national rankings, American private enterprise still leads China in successful launches 69 to 38. It also leads the entire world combined, 69 to 62, while SpaceX by itself now trails the rest of the world (excluding American companies) 60 to 62. SpaceX however has launches scheduled for September 2nd and 3rd, so these numbers are likely to change.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • Bob Wilson

    Whatever happened to the Japanese observatory/moon lander? The last I heard it was canceled due to inclement weather.. Since then no news. Too bad. An interesting and ambitious mission.

  • kilroy

    Now, give the Indian population access to indoor plumbing. It’s a better investment, probably cheaper than going to space.

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