ISRO Launches XpoSat, India’s First X-ray Space Telescope, to Unravel Cosmic Mysteries

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) rang in the new year by sending its first X-ray space telescope into orbit. Dubbed the Polarimeter Satellite (XpoSat), this 882-pound tech powerhouse will decode the mysteries of cosmic X-ray sources like black holes.

On Monday, ISRO’s reliable old workhorse rocket, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), blasted off from Sriharikota carrying XpoSat. This marked the 60th flight for the PSLV – a huge milestone for ISRO’s trusty launch vehicle.

The flight went off without a hitch, smoothly deploying XpoSat into low-Earth orbit. From this outpost, the satellite can study the hottest, most energetic phenomena in our universe in X-ray vision.

XpoSat will cast its gaze on luminous X-ray sources like black holes, neutron stars, supernova remnants and more. It will examine these cosmic heavyweights in polarization – essentially studying how X-rays vibrate as they zip through space. This can reveal new insights on the physics behind these powerful objects.

By mapping X-rays, the satellite will help us understand how black holes feed and grow, the intense magnetic fields around neutron stars, and what happens in the core collapse of massive stars.

XpoSat isn’t the first X-ray polarimeter in space – last year, NASA launched the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) on a similar mission. But as the second observatory of its kind, XpoSat will provide complementary data to unlock new secrets of high-energy astrophysics.

For ISRO, the successful launch of XpoSat is a great start to the new year. It proves India’s space program is still steadily notching new achievements as it continues exploring the cosmos. Who knows what secrets XpoSat will beam back to help reveal extreme physics – and maybe finally provide some clues into the mysteries of black holes!