The Indian Space Research Organisation on Monday launched its first X-ray Polarimeter satellite that will help study celestial objects such as black holes.
The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Andhra Pradesh’s Sriharikota at 9.10 am. The rocket placed the primary X-ray Polarimeter satellite, or XPoSat, into a 650-km Low Earth Orbit, the space agency’s Chairman S Somanath said.
The XPoSat is the first dedicated scientific satellite launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation to study dynamics of bright celestial X-ray sources in extreme conditions, the agency said.
Using X-ray photons and their polarisation, the satellite will help study the emission mechanism from objects such as black holes, neutron stars and pulsar wind nebulae, the organisation said.
The space agency said that the polarimetric observations made by the satellite, along with spectroscopic measurements of the secondary X-ray Spectroscopy and Timing payload, are expected to “break the degeneracy of various theoretical models of astronomical emission processes”.
The mission life of the XPoSat is about five years.
The launch made India the second country to have such a space-based observatory to study black holes.
Following the launch of the XPoSat, Somanath said on Monday that the Indian space agency will have an exciting year ahead. “This year has just begun, and we will have many more launches,” he said. “Besides, 2024 is going to be the year of [crewed spaceflight] Mission Gaganyaan”.