India’s soaring space ambitions reflected itself ably in latest PSLV Mission Carrying X-Ray Polarimeter Satellite to untangle mysteries of the Universe. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) crossed a new milestone in space exploration field when the world was busy welcoming new year 2024, using PSLV rocket. In its C58 configuration this PSLV rocket went roaring into the sky carrying not only XPoSat but 10 other payloads. This launch was much more than reaching space; it was about unraveling the cosmic puzzles that have entranced humanity for centuries.
Need for X-ray telescopes in space to understand cosmic rays has always been felt as such rays are absorbed by the Earth’s atmosphere. XpoSat has not one but two such payloads. It is India’s third space-based observatory after the recently launched solar mission (Aditya-L1) and AstroSat (India’s first dedicated astronomy mission with aim to study celestial sources in X-ray, optical and UV spectral bands simultaneously), launched in 2015. XpoSat is only the second space mission mandated to study the polarisation of cosmic X-rays, after NASA’s IXPE, launched in December of 2021.
XPoSat: India’s spotlight on the Cosmos
This mission has many payloads but most significant is the X-Ray Polarimeter Satellite (XPoSat), India’s very first foray into the specialized study of polarization of X-ray radiations from cosmic bodies. With capability to delve into the dynamics of celestial objects in punishing conditions, XPoSat’s role is very critical in understanding phenomena like black holes, neutron stars, and the disorderly regions surrounding them. The satellite, armed with the cutting-edge POLIX and XSPECT instruments, is all set to carry out measurements that could possibly redefine our understanding of the universe’s most energetic objects.
PSLV-C58: An Emblem of Reliability
The trustworthy workhorse of ISRO, the PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle), confirmed its prowess once again with the 60th flight of its series. The launch vehicle’s precise placement of XPoSat into a 650 km low Earth orbit, followed by the ensuing maneuver into a shorter 350 km circular orbit, illustrates the technological finesse and strategic planning that ISRO has always been known for. This launch also served as a deliverer of diverse payloads, ranging from experimental modules to educational satellites, showcasing India’s collaborative approach in space technology.
As the XPoSat began its celestial mission, ISRO officials conveyed their satisfaction and optimism for the future. ISRO Chairman S Somanath’s proclamation that 2024 will be a landmark year with missions like Gaganyaan on the horizon mirrors the ambitious roadmap India has laid out for itself. The successful deployment of XPoSat and the execution of the POEM-3 experiment is much more than a mission accomplished, it is a guiding light for future explorations.
Global Repercussions and Collaborative Spirit
The XPoSat mission isn’t mere a national achievement; with its potential to unravel the mysteries of high-energy cosmological phenomena, the satellite’s discoveries will benefit the international scientific community. The carriage of payloads from educational institutes and private entities underlines the collaborative approach that ISRO has adopted, boosting innovation and participation across the spectrum.
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