ISRO Successfully Launches X-Ray Polarimeter Satellite; Will Study Black Holes, Other Celestial Objects

ISRO on Monday successfully launched its first X-ray polarimeter satellite which will provide various insights into celestial objects like black holes.

ISRO’s ever-reliable Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) on its C58 mission, placed the primary X-ray polarimeter satellite XPoSat into a 650 km low Earth orbit as it first lifted off from the launch pad at the pre-scheduled time of 9.10 am. In Sriharikota.

As the 25-hour countdown came to an end, the 44.4-metre-tall rocket took off majestically at the spaceport, located about 135 km east of Chennai, to thunderous applause from a large number of spectators who had descended here.

The X-ray Polarimeter Satellite (EXPOSAT) aims to investigate the polarization of intense X-ray sources in space.

According to ISRO, this is the first dedicated scientific satellite from the space agency to carry out space-based polarization measurements of X-ray emission from celestial sources.

X-ray polarization serves as an important diagnostic tool for examining the radiation mechanism and geometry of celestial sources.

XPoSat’s primary payload is POLIX (Polarimeter Instrument in X-rays) designed to measure polarimetry parameters by XSPECT (X-ray Spectroscopy and Timing) developed by Raman Research Institute and UR Rao Satellite Centre, Bengaluru. The lifetime of the mission is about five years.

ISRO will also launch its latest joint venture satellite with NASA – NISAR – in the first quarter of 2024. Built at a cost of $1.5 billion (roughly Rs 12,500 crore), NISAR (NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar) is aimed at launch aboard India’s GSLV rocket.

NISAR’s data will be well suited for studying land ecosystems, solid Earth deformation, mountain and polar cryosphere, sea ice, and coastal oceans at regional to global scales.

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Author: Shantanu

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