Washington: As the countdown for India’s first solar mission, Aditya-L1, to the Sun has begun, former commander of the International Space Station Chris Hadfield hailed the "Indian technological prowess" and said that everybody on Earth is “counting on technology”.

The launch of India’s Sun mission is scheduled for Saturday at 1150 IST from the launch pad at Sriharikota, with the launch rehearsal and vehicle internal checks all being completed. Aditya-L1 is India's first solar space observatory and will be launched by the PSLV-C57. It will carry seven different payloads to have a detailed study of the sun, four of which will observe the light from the sun and the other three will measure in-situ parameters of the plasma and magnetic fields.

In an exclusive interview with ANI, the former astronaut Hadfield spoke about how the findings of the Aditya L-1 mission will impact human space flight. “So when we put something like Aditya L-1 up there in between us and the Sun to sense those things, to better understand how the sun works and the threats that it has to the earth, it's good for everybody for protecting us as people. But also, of course, our electrical grid, our internet grid, and all of the thousands of satellites that we count on that are up in orbit,” he said.

Aditya-L1 will be placed in a halo orbit around Lagrangian Point 1 (or L1), which is 1.5 million km away from the Earth in the direction of the sun. It is expected to cover the distance in four months' time.

Hadfield while expressing the expectations of the international space fraternity from Aditya L-1 said, “Well, everybody on the Earth is counting on technology just to have electricity in their homes and businesses to have communications…We are counting on a really complicated interconnected global electric and data system...it's really useful information, not just for ISRO and not just for, obviously the Indian space program, but it's something that is sort of vital space weather for the world.”

Major objectives of India’s solar mission include the study of the physics of solar corona and its heating mechanism, the solar wind acceleration, coupling and dynamics of the solar atmosphere, solar wind distribution and temperature anisotropy, and origin of Coronal Mass Ejections (CME) and flares and near-earth space weather. The atmosphere of the sun, the corona, is what we see during a total solar eclipse. A coronagraph like the VELC is an instrument that cuts out the light from the disk of the sun, and can thus image the much fainter corona at all times, the Bengaluru-based Indian Institute of Astrophysics said.

Hadfield called the successful landing of ISRO's moon mission Chandrayaan-3, a “strong demonstration of the increased capability of Indian technology."

"It's quite a historic moment for India and for the world.”

He also hailed India’s technological advancement saying, “This example of landing on the moon and sending a probe to the sun or at least to go monitor the sun and getting Indian astronauts ready to fly in space, it provides a really visible example to everybody in India, but to everybody else around the world of just where Indian technological prowess is right now and sort of a hint of everything that's to come.”

On the budget of India's Moon Mission (Chandrayaan-3), former Commander of the International Space Station Chris Hadfield said, "It's really important to put the budget into perspective...If you compare it to everything else that the Indian government is doing, if you compare it to the amount that's spent on food distribution or the rest of health and welfare for the Indian people, it is like a 100th of 1% of the whole budget...In comparison to what other countries spend in order to do something similar, it's one of India's great strengths as well...It makes them (India) extremely competitive...The inexpensive and successful way that India landed on the Moon, is proof positive for all of those Indian space companies that they can do something as well and for a lot less money than the rest of the world and that is a really good business model."

In context to pushing the technology in an economic way to turn it into a profitable space business, the former commander of the International Space Station also said that "India is in a really strong leveraged position to do that."

“I think Prime Minister Narendra Modi has seen that for several years. He is very much directly involved with the Indian space and research organization...So it's a really smart move on India's leadership's part right now, to be pushing it, to be developing it, but also being in the process of privatizing it so that the businesses and therefore the Indian people can benefit,” Hadfield said.

Hadfield, who is also an astronaut, has penned the ‘Apollo Murders’, and is slated to release the next instalment of ‘The Defector’ in October.

“My new book is ‘The Defector’, and it comes out October 10. It is a thriller fiction, alternative history fiction. And almost everything that happened in the book is real, but it's so much fun to weave in a plot in amongst astronauts and test pilots and the space program and the nuclear programme that was going on,” he said.