ISRO launches XPoSAT: Exploring Cosmic Depths in 2024


ISRO XPoSat mission unveiled

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) started the new year with the triumphant launch of its ground-breaking X-ray Polarimeter Satellite (XPoSat). The mission aims to understand the complexities of X-ray polarization and explore cosmic phenomena such as black holes and neutron stars. Lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota on Monday morning, ISRO’s reliable launch vehicle PSLV-C58 placed XPoSat into a precise circular orbit at an altitude of 650 km after an uninterrupted 21-minute flight.

World’s second X-ray polarimeter mission

XPoSat marks a significant leap forward in space exploration, only the second of its kind globally, after NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE), launched in 2021. It consists of two payloads – Indian X-ray Polarimeter (POLIX) and X-ray Spectroscopy and Timing (XSPECT), carefully designed by the Raman Research Institute and UR Rao Satellite Center in Bengaluru. ISRO Chairman S. Somnath expressed satisfaction, saying, ‘Another successful mission of PSLV has been completed on January 1, 2024.

precision in orbit

Chairman Somnath highlighted the precision of the operation, with deviation from the target orbit of just 3 km and inclination of 0.001 degrees, demonstrating excellent orbital conditions. He emphasized the successful deployment of the satellite’s solar panels, setting the stage for a promising year ahead. Somnath hinted at the exciting prospects of 2024, pointing to India’s imminent human spaceflight programme, and declared it the “Year of Gaganyaan”.

Gaganyaan: A milestone on the horizon

Anticipation is growing for Gaganyaan, as Somnath outlines plans for two more test flights of the test vehicle following last year’s TV-D1 mission. The Chairman emphasized that there will be various launches in 2024 including PSLV, GSLV and the new SSLV launch.

Political Advocacy

Union Minister of State for Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh expressed pride in ISRO’s achievements while acknowledging the continued success achieved with the support of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Strategic orbit adjustment for experiments

After successfully placing XPoSat into its intended orbit, the fourth stage of the launch vehicle was fired twice strategically to bring it into the 350 km orbit. This orbit will serve as a platform for experiments, ensuring a short mission life of about a month. Somnath clarified that this approach is in line with ISRO’s commitment to responsible space practices to avoid debris generation.


PSLV Orbital Experimental Module (POEM)

ISRO has demonstrated its technological prowess for the third time by using the PSLV Orbital Experimental Module (POEM) platform. Notable experiments include the Women Engineered Satellite (WESAT), designed by the LBS Institute of Technology for Women, which aims to study the relationship between solar radiation and UV index. Additionally, the platform features a fuel cell power system, a precursor to future power systems for space stations, in line with India’s ambitious plans to establish a space station by 2035.

Insight into cosmic wonders

XPoSat, once operational, will join the ranks of India’s space-based observatories, standing alongside the recently launched solar mission Aditya-L1 and 2015 Astrosat. By studying the polarization of astronomical X-rays, scientists hope to gain insight into the processes associated with their emission. This innovative method complements traditional astronomical studies, which include imaging, analysis of light fluctuations and the energy emitted by celestial bodies.

Conclusion: Unveiling the Mysteries of the Universe

The successful launch of XPoSat by ISRO is not only a remarkable scientific achievement but also takes India further forward in the field of space exploration. With Gaganyaan on the horizon and a commitment to responsible space practices, ISRO continues to forge its path towards unraveling the mysteries of the universe. As the country looks forward to a year full of space endeavours, the XPoSat mission stands as a testament to India’s growing prowess in space exploration.


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