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Reach for the Sun…India pushes the cutting edge of a new race for space


In Hindu theology, there are twelve Adityas, providentially guarding all forms of life, and one Sanskrit Aditya, synonymous with the Sun: but over at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in India, Aditya is better known as Solar Laboratory PSLV-C57…and right now it’s spiralling around its namesake Sun at 7,000 miles an hour. Having already travelled 932,000 miles since the blast-off last September, Aditya finally broke free of what was left of the Earth’s gravity this week, settling itself softly into a stable “halo” orbit around the Sun. “OK”, you might be thinking, “a mission to the centre of the solar system…what’s so special about that?...wouldn’t it be better to do something about the Manchester rail link, so I can get to work in less than six hours?” 

Well, of course, it would, but if we’re serious about changing our World for the better, providently watching over endangered life forms, and protecting our precious planet…sometimes we have to reach for the Sun.

Staring at the Sun

The Aditya Orbiter will conduct a series of studies into coronal mass ejections (CME’s): huge “flux ropes” of white-hot plasma, threaded with intense magnetic lines, that are thrown up from the Sun’s surface for several hours at a time, and these ejections are strong enough to disrupt the earth’s atmosphere…as if it wasn’t enough that we’re already impairing the same atmosphere with carbon emissions. So it would be good to know (to say the least) what those CMEs are doing, and just how they’re doing it: especially when we’re still trying so hard to sort things out, back here on terra firma.

Additional studies will be carried out too into the key dynamics of other particles present in the Sun’s upper atmosphere: effectively the potentially fatal “bullets” that are being fired at the earth’s thinning atmosphere…so it’s hard to underestimate the importance of knowing more about that as well, even if you’ve been stuck for two hours on the Euston to Manchester “express” while you’re reading this.

Because the truth is, these things matter, so it’s best to address them now…and it’s increasingly difficult to ignore the part India is playing in the process.

A New Dawn for Indian Technology

The spectacular, fiery launch of the Aditya orbiter ignited the fifty-ninth mission in the Subcontinent’s ambitious space programme (hard on the heels of its successful lunar landing last year), and the reported cost of the orbiter is a mere $48 Million, which is relative peanuts when it comes to galactic exploration (Elon Musk’s SpaceX is charging $55 Million a seat (, and they’re just running day trips). This is also the first mission by any Asian country to achieve a sustainable orbit around the Sun, and, in 2014, India became the first Asian country to put a satellite into orbit around Mars.

Narendra Modi hasn’t been slow to spell out the broader implications of Aditya’s success: “It is a testament to the relentless dedication of our scientists…We will continue to pursue new frontiers of science for the benefit of humanity.”

Indeed it is a resounding testament, and India can be rightly proud of its success in pushing forward the frontiers of science.

Red Ribbon Asset Management

The Subcontinent has been at the heart of Red Ribbon Asset Management ( for more than a decade, shaping its successful investment strategies in conjunction with an unparalleled knowledge of the Subcontinent’s markets: delivering higher than average investor returns, and looking after the Planet and People in the process.

Executive Overview

We’re all part of a complex solar system, and protecting our planet often means understanding how best to play that part: that’s why Aditya matters, and that’s why India can be proud of its achievements.

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Suchit Punnose

Suchit Punnose / About Author

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