CHENNAI: ISRO's PSLV Orbital Experiment Module (POEM) 2 has reached space. The PSLV C-55 rocket, which flew into space to launch two Singapore satellites, was converted into a small laboratory after completing the launch mission. It will float in the sky for a month. It consists of 7 payloads jointly developed by ISRO, the Indian Institute of Astrophysics and start-ups Bellatrix and Dhruva Space. Experiments will be conducted in polar earth orbit with this.

PSLV C-55 mission has been adopted with the ‘integrate, transfer and launch’ concept using the PSLV integration facility at Sriharikota. It is also the 16th mission for ISRO using the PSLV Core Alone configuration.

Saturday’s mission follows the successful deployment of the TeLEOS-1 satellite in a PSLV C-29 rocket along with five other satellites of Singapore in December 2015.

The space agency also carried out the PSLV Orbital Experimental Module-2 (POEM-2) as an orbital platform to carry out the scientific experiments through non-separating payloads carried by it.

Announcing the success of the PSLV satellite mission, Somanath also said “POEM is going to write some more poems” with seven payloads.

The payloads belong to ISRO, Bellatrix, Dhruva Space and Indian Institute of Astrophysics. It has “deployable solar panel for the first time in the upper stage of a rocket.”That is another exciting thing to happen,” Somanath added.

The payloads on POEM-2 would be powered by scientists to perform the operation. The platform’s solar panel would be deployed facing towards the Sun through a ground command. Somanath said it is for the first time that solar panels are being deployed in the fourth stage of a rocket by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

According to him, the platform would ensure the deployed solar panel points towards the Sun optimally using appropriate sun pointing mode, which would increase the power generation capability.

The power would be provided to payloads and avionic packages based on their requirements.

Briefing reporters later, he said the power generated from the platform can be used for a short time or even for a longer period. “If the power generated is 150 mw, it can be short but with this the power generation may even go up to 500 mw….we will be able to know in some time, ” he said.

On the significance of such an experiment, an ISRO official told PTI that it would enable startups, satellites designed by students to use that platform as it would cost ‘one-third’ of the cost compared to a satellite being deployed in an orbit.

NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL) Chairman D Radhakrishnan said the non-separable payloads in the fourth stage would pave the way to future satellite missions undertaken by the space agency.

When asked whether there is a possibility to use the fourth stage of the GSLV rocket to demonstrate the ‘scientific experiment’, Somanath replied in the affirmative saying, “initially, PSLV..later GSLV.” On the future missions by ISRO, Somanath said the scientists were gearing for a lot of missions including PSLV, GSLV over the next three months.

“The Aditya L1 mission is there, then we will have the GSLV Navic mission and after that we will have the Chandrayaan-3 mission. After that we will have the next set of PSLV missions,” he added. (PTI)