ISRO Missions and Discoveries

What is PSLV Orbital Experimental Module (POEM)?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : POEM

Mains level : Not Much

The ISRO has launched three Singaporean satellites in precise orbit through the PSLV Orbital Experimental Module or ‘POEM’.

What is POEM?

  • The POEM is a platform that will help perform in-orbit experiments using the final, and otherwise discarded, stage of ISRO’s workhorse rocket, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).
  • The PSLV is a four-stage rocket where the first three spent stages fall back into the ocean, and the final stage (PS4) — after launching the satellite into orbit — ends up as space junk.
  • However, in PSLV-C53 mission, the spent final stage will be utilised as a “stabilised platform” to perform experiments.
  • POEM is carrying six payloads, including two from Indian space start-ups Digantara and Dhruva Space.

Features of POEM

  • POEM has a dedicated Navigation Guidance and Control (NGC) system for attitude stabilisation, which stands for controlling the orientation of any aerospace vehicle within permitted limits.
  • The NGC will act as the platform’s brain to stabilize it with specified accuracy.
  • POEM will derive its power from solar panels mounted around the PS4 tank, and a Li-Ion battery.
  • It will navigate using four sun sensors, a magnetometer, gyros & NavIC.
  • It carries dedicated control thrusters using Helium gas storage. It is enabled with a telecomm and feature.

Has ISRO repurposed and used PS4 rocket junk earlier?

  • The Indian space agency first demonstrated the capability of using PSLV-C44 as an orbital platform in 2019.
  • It injected Microsat-R and Kalamsat-V2 satellites into their designated orbits.
  • The fourth stage in that mission was kept alive as an orbital platform for space-based experiments.
  • While in that mission, the fourth stage had Li-Ion batteries, solar panels are an addition this time.
  • The latest repurposing and upgrade of the fourth stage of the PSLV rocket involves the stabilization of the orbital platform.

 

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