ISRO launches rocket to study black hole, becomes second after NASA to do it

| Updated: 01 January, 2024 5:53 pm IST

KOLKATA : In a significant leap towards unravelling the mysteries of the cosmos, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched its X-ray Polarimeter Satellite, Xposat, on Monday.

This landmark mission marks India as the second country, after NASA, to embark on a dedicated endeavour to study black holes.

“PSLV-C58 vehicle placed the satellite precisely into the intended orbit of 650 km with 6-degree inclination. The POEM-3 is being scripted,” ISRO posted in X. POEM refers to PSLV Orbital Experimental Module.

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ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, carrying the Xposat satellite into space. This state-of-the-art satellite is equipped with a specialised X-ray polarimeter to investigate and analyse the elusive nature of black holes, which have long captivated the imagination of astronomers and astrophysicists worldwide.

Astrophysicist Dipankar Bhattacharya told media outlets that it was a “textbook launch”. “The expected orbit has been achieved. Now all the expected science is hopefully going to work as planned,” he said.

The Xposat mission is poised to contribute significantly to our understanding of these enigmatic celestial entities by capturing X-ray emissions from black holes. This groundbreaking initiative aims to shed light on the behaviour, characteristics, and surrounding environments of black holes, paving the way for discoveries in the realm of astrophysics.

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The XPoSat satellite cost around ₹ 250 crore. Former ISRO chairperson G Madhavan Nair narrated that the PSLV rocket has evolved into the most reliable and cost-effective system in the present global scenario.

ISRO’s accomplishment solidifies India’s position at the forefront of space exploration and scientific research, demonstrating the nation’s commitment to advancing our knowledge of the universe. As Xposat embarks on its mission to scrutinise black holes, the global scientific community eagerly awaits the wealth of data and insights it is poised to deliver.

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