ISRO Launches Rocket to Test New Ideas in Space

New Delhi: India’s space agency ISRO on Monday launched a satellite using the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).

The X-ray Polarimeter Satellite (XPoSat) was put into its intended orbit 650km above the Earth about 21 minutes after its lift-off from Sriharikota.

The New Year’s Day mission marked the 60th launch of the PSLV. After putting the satellite in its intended orbit, the PSLV’s fourth stage’s mission isn’t over. After XPoSat’s separation at 650km, Isro engineers fired the fourth stage engines twice to lower its orbit to 350km above Earth where it is intended to serve as the PSLV Orbital Experimental Module (POEM), a platform to test experimental technologies developed by academic institutions, startups and government research centres.

The POEM platform carries instruments and devices to assess green propellants, new fuel cells — energy sources for spacecraft — and a new type of coating to serve as a radiation shield to enhance the lifespan of spacecraft.

A space department official said the orbital platform is expected to be operational for “several months”.

One of the experiments on POEM is an instrument from ISRO’s Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad, to measure interplanetary dust in the solar system. These are tiny microscopic particles that burn up when they encounter the Earth’s atmosphere.


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