India’s space agency ISRO successfully launched its first mission of the year 2023 on Monday, sending an X-ray Polarimeter Satellite (XPoSat) and 10 other satellites into orbit on board a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C52).
XPoSat to study cosmic sources of X-rays
XPoSat, the primary payload of the PSLV-C52, is a 210 kg satellite that will study the polarisation of X-rays emitted by various cosmic sources such as pulsars, black holes, and neutron stars. XPoSat will carry a payload called POLIX (Polarimeter Instrument in X-rays), which was developed by the Raman Research Institute (RRI) in Bengaluru.
XPoSat will operate in a circular orbit of 600 km altitude with an inclination of 67.5 degrees. It will have a mission life of five years, during which it will observe about 50 X-ray sources in the sky. XPoSat will help scientists to understand the physical processes and mechanisms that produce X-rays in the universe.
PSLV-C52 carries 10 co-passenger satellites
The PSLV-C52, which lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota at 5.59 am, also carried 10 co-passenger satellites as secondary payloads. These include:
- Four satellites from India: SindhuNetra, an advanced earth observation satellite developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO); SAI-1 NanoConnect-2, a nanosatellite built by the Sathyabama Institute of Science and Technology in Chennai; SAI-2 NanoConnect-3, another nanosatellite built by the same institute; and Satish Dhawan SAT (SDSAT), a nanosatellite built by Space Kidz India, an organisation that promotes space science among students.
- Three satellites from the USA: Amazonia-1, a remote sensing satellite for monitoring the Amazon rainforest; Symbiotic CubeSat, a technology demonstration satellite for testing a new propulsion system; and Lemur-2, a satellite for tracking maritime and aviation traffic.
- One satellite from Brazil: NanoSatC-BR2, a scientific satellite for studying the space weather and the Earth’s magnetic field.
- One satellite from Spain: 3Cat-5, a nanosatellite for testing a new infrared camera for earth observation.
- One satellite from Portugal: INFANTE, a nanosatellite for demonstrating a new platform for small satellites.
The PSLV-C52 injected all the satellites into their intended orbits, after a flight of about 20 minutes. ISRO Chairman S Somanath congratulated the team for the successful launch and said that the mission was a “marvellous accomplishment”.
ISRO’s first launch in 2023
The PSLV-C52 was the first launch mission of ISRO in 2023, after a gap of more than three months. The last launch of ISRO was on October 16, 2022, when it launched EOS-03, an earth observation satellite, on board a GSLV-F10 rocket. However, the mission failed due to a technical anomaly in the cryogenic upper stage of the rocket.
ISRO has planned several more missions for 2023, including the launch of Aditya-L1, India’s first solar mission; Gaganyaan, India’s first manned space mission; Chandrayaan-3, India’s third lunar mission; and NISAR, a joint earth observation mission with NASA.