Supra Thermal & Energetic Particle Spectrometer (STEPS)

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India’s solar mission Aditya L1 has started studying energetic particles in the solar wind from space with the help of a device named Supra Thermal & Energetic Particle Spectrometer (STEPS).

About Supra Thermal & Energetic Particle Spectrometer (STEPS):

  • It is a sub-system of the ASPEX (Aditya Solar Wind Particle Experiment) payload on the spacecraft.
  • The key aim of STEPS is to study the environment of energetic particles from the spacecraft’s position on the L1 point till it will function.
  • The data from STEPS in the long term will also help us understand how space weather changes.
  • It comprises six sensors, each observing in different directions and measuring supra-thermal and energetic ions.
  • The data collected during the Earth’s orbits helps scientists to analyse the behaviour of particles surrounding the planet, especially in the presence of its magnetic field.
  • It was developed by the Physical Research Laboratory PRL with support from the Space Application Centre (SAC) in Ahmedabad.


Key facts about Aditya L1

  • Aditya (in Sanskrit means Sun) is a planned coronagraphy spacecraft to study solar atmosphere (solar corona - outermost part).
  • It has been designed and developed by ISRO and various other Indian research institutes.
  • It is the first dedicated Indian mission to observe the Sun, and will be launched aboard a PSLV-XL launch vehicle.
  • The suits of Aditya L1’s payloads are expected to provide crucial information for understanding the phenomenon of:
    • coronal heating, coronal mass ejection(CME), pre-flare and flare activities and their characteristics,
    • the dynamics of space weather, propagation of particles and fields etc.


Q1) What is PSLV-XL?

The PSLV-XL (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle - Extra Large) is an upgraded version of the Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) PSLV launch vehicle. The PSLV is one of ISRO's most successful and versatile launch vehicles and is known for its reliability and cost-effectiveness. The PSLV-XL is designed to carry heavier payloads into various orbits, including polar orbits.

Source: Solar mission Aditya takes STEPS to collect information on energetic particles from space.