Besides placing three Singaporean satellites in precise orbit, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has also achieved the feat of successfully launching the PSLV Orbital Experimental Module or ‘POEM’.
What is POEM?
- The PSLV Orbital Experimental Module 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.
How will ISRO keep POEM ‘alive and stable’ in orbit?
- According to ISRO, 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 stabilise 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 telecommand feature.