After the successful launch of Chandrayaan 3 and Aditya L1, ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) also successfully launched the XPoSat – X-ray Polarimeter Satellite on Monday (January 1, 2024), the first day of the new year. The lift-off took place from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. With XpoSat’s successful launch, India has become the second country after the United States to send an observatory into space to study black holes and neutron stars.
The first dedicated scientific satellite
“XPoSat (X-ray Polarimeter Satellite) is the first dedicated scientific satellite from ISRO to carry out research in space-based polarisation measurements of X-ray emission from celestial sources. The Satellite configuration is modified from the IMS-2 bus platform. The Configuration of the mainframe systems is derived based on the heritage of IRS satellites. It carries two payloads namely POLIX (Polarimeter Instrument in X-rays) and XSPECT (X-ray Spectroscopy and Timing). POLIX is realized by Raman Research Institute and XSPECT is by Space Astronomy Group of URSC,” said ISRO.
The lift-off and launch
PSLV-C58/XPoSat Mission’s lift-off was normal and the XPoSat satellite was launched successfully. PSLV-C58 vehicle placed the satellite precisely into the intended orbit of 650 km with a 6-degree inclination. The PS4 stage was brought down to a 350 km orbit. The satellite was launched at 9:10 hours on Monday.
What are the functions of the satellite?
XPoSat will measure the polarisation of X-rays coming from about 50 cosmic sources. Thomson Scattering in the energy band 8-30keV will be measured by POLIX payload. XPoSat will carry out long-term spectral as well as temporal studies of cosmic X-ray sources. The XSPECT payload will make these measurements in the energy band 8-15keV. / It will also undertake polarisation and spectroscopic measurements of X-ray emissions from sources in space using POLIX and XSPECT. It aims to study the enigmatic world of black holes.
“The emission mechanism from various astronomical sources such as blackhole, neutron stars, active galactic nuclei, pulsar wind nebulae, etc. originates from complex physical processes and are challenging to understand. While the spectroscopic and timing information by various space-based observatories provides a wealth of information, the exact nature of the emission from such sources still poses deeper challenges to astronomers,” said ISRO.
By: Gursharan Kaur