India’s space agency launched a rocket on Saturday to study the sun in its first solar mission in the wake of the country’s successful moon landing.
As scientists applauded, the rocket created a path of smoke and fire, as seen in a live stream on the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) website.
Nearly 500,000 people watched the broadcast, and thousands more gathered at a viewing gallery close to the launch site to watch the probe lift off. The probe will research solar winds, which can generate disturbances on Earth that are usually observed as auroras.
The Aditya-L1 launch, which takes its name from the Hindi word for the sun, comes after India defeated Russia late last month to become the first nation to set foot on the south pole of the moon. Despite having a more potent rocket than Russia, India’s Chandrayaan-3 outlasted the Luna-25 to complete a flawless landing.
A parking lot in orbit where things prefer to remain put due to balanced gravitational forces is where the Aditya-L1 spacecraft is planned to cruise for around 1.5 million kilometers (930,000 miles) over the course of four months, saving fuel for the spacecraft.
After the Italian-French mathematician Joseph-Louis Lagrange, these points are known as Lagrange Points.