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ISRO launches XPoSAT Mission to Study Galactic X-ray Sources

Credit: ISRO

Ibadan, 3 January 2024. – The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has successfully launched the XPOSAT Satellite, aboard its PSLV-C58 carrier. The mission will subsequently study various dynamics of bright astronomical X-ray sources in extreme conditions, the structure and geometry of the magnetic field of neutron stars, and develop an understanding of galactic black hole binary sources. The mission will also study and confirm the production of X-rays.

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 with the configuration of the mainframe systems based on the heritage of IRS satellites. Furthermore, XPoSat carries two payloads, namely POLIX (Polarimeter Instrument in X-rays) and XSPECT (X-ray Spectroscopy and Timing).

The Raman Research Institute developed POLIX, together with the U R Rao Satellite Centre, to measure the degree and angle of polarisation in the medium X-ray energy range. The payload will consequently observe around 40 bright astronomical sources during its planned 5-year mission lifespan. Likewise, the Space Astronomy Group of URSC developed the second payload, XSPECT, to offer fast timing and high spectroscopic resolution in soft X-rays. Furthermore, XSPECT’ will provide long-term monitoring of spectral state changes and simultaneous monitoring of soft X-ray emissions.

Manish Purohit, former ISRO scientist and a solar energy and spacecraft solar panel expert, noted that “The launch of XPoSat is a clear signal from ISRO that India is ready to embark on purely scientific missions that delve into the unknown. This mission provides an expansive platform for academia to significantly contribute to the nation’s space exploration endeavours, enhancing research and development”.

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