• Thu. Jul 25th, 2024

Isro to begin New Year with XPoSat launch; 10 other payloads to go on POEM


BENGALURU: India’s space activity in 2024 is expected to start with a launch on the very first day, with Isro having begun the last leg of pre-launch preparations to put into space X-Ray Polarimeter Satellite (XPoSat) on a PSLV, whose last stage will host 10 other payloads after injecting the main satellite.
Multiple Isro officials confirmed to TOI that the launch is scheduled for January 1 as on date.With XPoSat, India is on the verge of a groundbreaking leap in space-based X-Ray astronomy. Unlike previous missions that focused predominantly on imaging, time-domain studies, and spectroscopy, XPoSat aims to explore the polarisation of intense X-Ray sources, introducing a novel dimension to X-Ray astronomy, the space agency said.
“The mission’s objectives include measuring X-Ray polarisation and conducting long-term spectral and temporal studies of cosmic X-Ray sources,” Isro said, adding that the anticipated mission life is around 5 years.
Scheduled for observation from Low Earth Orbit (LEO) at an altitude of approximately 650km and a low inclination of around 6°, XPoSat carries two scientific payloads. These payloads enable simultaneous studies of temporal, spectral, and polarisation features of bright X-Ray sources.
“The primary payload, POLIX (Polarimeter Instrument in X-rays), developed by the Raman Research Institute (RRI), focuses on measuring polarimetry parameters in the medium X-ray energy range. It comprises a collimator, scatterer, and four X-ray proportional counter detectors,” Isro said.
“XSPECT (X-ray Spectroscopy and Timing), developed by the UR Rao Satellite Centre (URSC), offers fast timing and excellent spectroscopic resolution in soft X-rays. XSPECT is capable of observing various sources, including X-ray pulsars, black hole binaries, and active galactic nuclei,” Isro added.
The space agency said XPoSat’s significance lies in its ability to act as a diagnostic tool for examining the radiation mechanism and geometry of celestial sources. “By analysing X-Ray polarisation signatures, scientists can measure the mass and spin of accreting black holes, explore accretion flow, outflow, and jets, estimate strong magnetic fields, and unveil the radiation zone and particle acceleration processes in pulsars,” Isro said.
10 Other Payloads On POEM
Aside from XPoSAT, the main satellite, the PSLV will carry 10 more instruments to Space on its last stage — the PSLV Orbital Experimental Module or POEM.
The five five instruments on POEM as listed by Isro are: “Radiation Shielding Experimental Module (RSEM)” to evaluate Tantalum coating effectiveness, by TakeMe2Space, Hyderabad; Women Engineered Satellite (WESAT) to compare Solar Irradiance and UV Index, by LBS Institute of Technology for Women; BeliefSat-0, an amateur radio satellite by KJ Somaiya Institute of Technology; Green Impulse Transmitter (GITA), a green bipropellant CubeSat propulsion unit by Inspecity Space Labs Private Limited and Launching Expeditions for Aspiring Technologies – Technology Demonstrator (LEAP-TD) for demonstration of subsystems of microsatellite by space startup Dhruva Space.”
The other five include, two instruments from Bengaluru based firm Bellatrix Aerospace — “RUDRA 0.3 HPGP” the green monopropellant thruster and “ARKA-200”, a heater less hollow cathode for Hall thrusters — two payloads by Isro’s Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) and one by Physical Research Laboratory (PRL).
The two VSSC instruments are “Fuel Cell Power System (FCPS)” for demonstration of fuel cell and Silicon-based high energy cell, while the PRL payload, the Dust Experiment (DEX) will measure interplanetary dust count.


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