Bangalore: ISRO has achieved a new milestone, graduating from the S-band telemetry and command regime used for communication with its space modules to a high throughput X-band frequency for Aditya-L1, India's first solar space observatory that completed the first of five Earth-bound manoeuvres at 11.40am Sunday reports TOI.

So far, ISRO had used X-band only for payload data downloads. Compared to S-band, which operates with 2-2.5GHz, X band functions with 8-8.5GHz. This is in line with global standards for missions beyond Earth's sphere of influence.

The major advantage of using X-band is that it allows for more clear communication with distant satellites.

In the case of Aditya-L1, the distance is 1.5 million km.

After Aditya-L1 completed the first Earth-bound manoeuvre, ISRO said, "The satellite is healthy and operating nominally. The new orbit attained is 245km x 22,459km and the second Earth-bound manoeuvre is scheduled for 3am on September 5."

Aditya's operations are being carried out by multiple tracking stations operated by the ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC), headquartered in Bangalore. The set-up includes a temporary station in the Fiji Islands, about which TOI was the first to report in January.

The main antenna supporting operations is an 18m one in Byalalu, some 30km from Bangalore. Commissioned in 2021, the antenna was set up using funds for the Aditya-L1 mission, which was designed to have X-band telemetry.

It is equipped with auto-tracking features across both bands and remotely operable from the network control centre.

"We have used this even with Chandrayaan-3. The antenna at Byalalu, developed by ECIL (Electronics Corporation of India Limited) with some key systems coming from BARC (Bhabha Atomic Research Centre), can operate in both S and X bands," ISRO chairman S Somanath told TOI.

ISRO has adopted the strategy of building stations that can use both bands as other missions - like remote sensing, communication satellite and commercial launches - use S band.

Apart from the Byalalu antenna, ISRO has at least two smaller antennas that can operate in both S and X bands.

The new infrastructure will also provide opportunities for space PSU NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) to commercialise it.