By Staff Correspondent
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is all set to launch its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) on a significant mission this Saturday. The launch will take place from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota at precisely 2:19 PM. The PSLV will carry two major customer satellites and an in-house platform to conduct experiments with payloads from India.
Dubbed the PSLV Orbital Experimental Module (POEM), the mission will carry two Singaporean satellites into orbit, along with an Orbital Experimental module to conduct tests in the vacuum of space. The PEOM is essentially the spent fourth stage of the launch vehicle that will be used as an orbital platform to carry out scientific experiments through non-separating payloads.
While the first three stages of the PSLV are jettisoned into the ocean after they push the mission to the desired orbit, the fourth stage remains in orbit and becomes space junk. However, ISRO is now repurposing this fourth stage to be used as an experimental platform. The platform will carry seven non-separable payloads from ISRO, Bellatrix, Dhruva Space, and the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA).
Powered by solar panels and fitted with its own Navigation Guidance and Control (NGC) system, the fourth stage or the orbital experimental platform, Poem, will stabilise its attitude. Once the primary and secondary satellites from Singapore are deployed in their orbits, the payloads will be switched on. The power will be provided to the payloads and avionic packages based on their requirements.
The payloads include PSLV In orbitaL OBC and Thermals (PiLOT), an OBC package, and an Advanced Retarding Potential analyser for Ionospheric Studies (ARIS-2) experiment from IIST, HET-based ARKA200 Electric Propulsion System from Bellatrix, DSOD-3U and DSOD-6U deployer units along with DSOL-Transceiver in S- & X- bands from Dhruva Space, and Starberry Sense Payload from IIA.
The IIA is sending the Starberry to space, stating that the low-cost device has been developed to accurately identify and measure star positions in space. “Built from commercial off-the-shelf components and once tested in space, it will be a fantastic alternative for future space missions to find out where they are pointed at,” IIA said in a tweet.
This launch is not the first time that ISRO is repurposing the fourth stage for in-house experiments; it has done so several times in the past. The PSLV-C55 mission is another significant milestone for India’s space program, which has made remarkable strides in recent years.