Friday
14 June | 2024

Lahore, Pakistan

India launches XPoSat to study black holes, neutron stars

Sreedhara Somanath says India’s space agency is working on a project which aims to send three astronauts into low-Earth orbit and bring them back after three days

Indian Indian Space Research Organization has launched X-ray Polarimeter Satellite or XPoSat that is carrying an observatory which will study astronomical objects like black holes, and neutron stars, local and foreign media reported while quoting senior officials.

Launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Tirupati district of India’s southern coastal Andhra Pradesh, this is the second mission in the world of this nature after NASA launched one in 2021. In a statement, the Indian space agency stated that it wanted to help scientists improve their knowledge of black holes that emerge from explosive demise of certain large stars.

Built at $30mn, XPoSat is estimated to have a lifespan of five years
Built at $30mn, XPoSat is estimated to have a lifespan of five years

“We will have an exciting time ahead,” said Sreedhara Somanath, an Indian aerospace engineer, and chairperson of the Indian Space Research Organization. He said that the space agency was working on a project which aims to send three astronauts into low-Earth orbit and bring them back after three days. He said that the XPoSat mission was just one among several projects they have planned to carry out this year.

It is pertinent to mention here that the black hole is a region of space where matter has collapsed in on itself. The gravitational pull is so strong that nothing, not even light, can escape. Built at $30 million, the XPoSat is estimated to have a lifespan of five years. Weighing about 470 kilograms, the satellite will carry out research on X-rays emanating from around 50 celestial objects with the help of two payloads.

In 2021, NASA launched the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer to answer questions such as why black holes spin and build on findings of its flagship telescope Chandra X-ray Observatory that blasted off more than two decades ago. In 2017, China’s National Space Administration also launched the X-ray space telescope to observe black holes, pulsars, and gamma-ray bursts.

Officials said that POLIX (Polarimeter Instrument in X-rays) payload will measure degree and angle of polarization in the medium X-ray energy range of 8-30 keV photons of astronomical origin. The XSPECT (X-ray Spectroscopy and Timing) payload will offer spectroscopic information in the energy range of 0.8-15 keV. “Our mission’s life is about five years. XPoSat is anticipated to bring substantial benefits to the astronomy community globally,” they said.

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