Updated December 31st, 2023 at 17:23 IST
ISRO scientists seek blessings of Lord Balaji ahead of Jan 1 Polarimeter Satellite launch
ISRO scientists Amit Kumar Patra, Victor Joseph, Yashoda and Srinivas visit Tirumala Sri Venkateswara temple ahead of the launch of X-ray Polarimeter Satellite.
ISRO scientists Amit Kumar Patra, Victor Joseph, Yashoda, and Srinivas visit Tirumala Sri Venkateswara temple in Tirupati ahead of the launch of PSLV-C58/EXPOSAT mission, which is scheduled at 09:10 hrs IST, 1st January 2024.
ISRO is set to launch the X-ray Polarimeter Satellite (XPoSat) on January 1. The launch, scheduled for 9:10 am IST from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, will utilize the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).
ISRO describes the upcoming mission, PSLV-C58, as "India's first dedicated polarimetry mission to study various dynamics of bright astronomical X-ray sources in extreme conditions." These sources include black holes, neutron stars, active galactic nuclei, and pulsar wind nebulae, all emitting X-rays with mechanisms that are challenging to comprehend.
XPoSat comprises two payloads - POLIX and XSPECT - each with distinct objectives. The first payload, Polarimeter (POLIX), is a collaborative development by the Raman Research Institute and UR Rao Satellite Centre.
"POLIX is expected to observe about 40 bright astronomical sources of different categories during the planned lifetime of XPoSat mission of about 5 years. This is the first payload in the medium X-ray energy band dedicated for polarimetry measurements," stated ISRO in an official statement.
The second payload, XSPECT (X-ray SPECtroscopy and Timing), is designed to assist scientists in capturing 'soft X-rays' with high spectroscopic resolution. "XSPECT will observe various types of sources, including X-ray pulsars, black hole binaries, low-magnetic field neutron stars (NS) in LMXBs, AGNs (active galactic nucleus), and Magnetars," added ISRO.
Once the satellite is placed in its intended orbit, the upper stage of the PSLV will be repurposed for additional experiments in a 350 km circular orbit. ISRO stated, "The PSLV Orbital Experimental Module-3 (POEM-3) experiment will be conducted, addressing the objective of 10 identified payloads supplied by ISRO and IN-SPACe," as mentioned in its brochure.
The exploration of the universe through X-rays commenced in the early 1960s, leading to the launch of numerous satellites dedicated to this study. Notably, these satellites are positioned in space as Earth's atmosphere absorbs a significant portion of X-rays. Currently, NASA's Chandra X-ray and the NuSTAR observatories represent the two major missions engaged in X-ray astronomy.
ISRO emphasizes that delving into the universe through X-rays and gamma rays is crucial for scientists to gain insights into the fundamental physics of the universe, its origin, and evolution.
In addition to XPoSat as the primary payload, the PSLV will carry 10 other payloads from private companies such as Bellatrix and Dhruva Space for experiments in low-Earth orbit. Another notable payload is the 'Women Engineered Satellite' (WESAT), crafted by the Thiruvananthapuram-based LBS Institute of Technology for Women.
Published December 31st, 2023 at 17:16 IST