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Explained: What is Isro’s XPoSat mission?

Isro started 2024 with a successful launch of the XPoSat mission – using the PSLV rocket – that will study celestial objects like black holes

New Delhi, Dec 31, 2023: Isro's first X-Ray Polarimeter satellite aims to study the polarisation of intense X-ray sources in space.(ISRO/ANI)

By Team Lounge

LAST PUBLISHED 01.01.2024  |  01:30 PM IST

The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) started 2024 with a successful launch as it confirmed a normal lift-off for the XPoSat (X-ray Polarimeter Satellite) satellite, which will study black holes and neutron stars. The space agency said the satellite was placed in its intended orbit by the PSLV-C58 vehicle. Here’s a closer look at Isro’s first launch of 2024.

What is the XPoSat mission?

XPoSat, which stands for X-ray Polarimeter Satellite, Isro’s first dedicated scientific satellite to carry out research in space-based polarisation measurements of X-ray emission from celestial sources.

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The satellite is carrying two payloads: POLIX (Polarimeter Instrument in X-rays) and XSPECT (X-ray Spectroscopy and Timing). POLIX is realized by Raman Research Institute and XSPECT is by the Space Astronomy Group of U R Rao Satellite Centre (URSC), Bengaluru. According to Isro, the main objectives of the satellite mission is to measure the polarisation of X-rays in the energy band 8-30keV emanating from about 50 potential cosmic sources, carry out long term spectral and temporal studies of cosmic X-ray sources through the XSPECT payload and carry out polarisation and spectroscopic measurements of X-ray emissions from cosmic sources by POLIX and XSPECT payloads respectively in the common energy band.

The mission life, according to a Press Trust of India (PTI) report, is 5 years.

What was the launch vehicle?

The launch vehicle for the XPoSat launch was Isro’s PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle), which has been used in the past for India’s first lunar probe mission Chandrayaan-1, the Mars Orbiter Mission and the ongoing Aditya-L1 solar mission.

According to PTI, Isro also successfully did a maneuvering experiment by firing the fourth stage of the PSLV rocket twice to conduct scientific experiments. “After the 44.4-meter-tall PSLV rocket lifted off from the first launch pad at 9.10 am on Monday, it placed the primary satellite XPoSat into the desired orbit after 21 minutes of flight as intended... Later, scientists at the Bengaluru-headquartered space agency fired the fourth stage of the PSLV rocket twice to reduce the altitude from 650 km to 350 km to conduct the scientific experiment in which 10 other payloads of various ISRO centres would be operational in the Low Earth Orbits under the PSLV Orbital Experimental Module-3 (POEM) experiment," the report said.

Among the 10 payloads, the PTI report added, were the Radiation Shielding Experiment Module by TakeMe2Space, Women Engineered Satellite by LBS Institute of Technology for Women, BeliefSat (an amateur radio satellite) built by K J Somaiya Institute of Technology, Green Impulse Transmitter by Inspecity Space Labs Pvt Ltd, LEATTD -- Launching Expeditions for Aspiring Technologies Technology Demonstrator by Dhruva Space Pvt Ltd.

(With inputs from agencies)

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