POEM - 3 (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     12th April 2024        
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Context: Recently, ISRO's PSLV-C58/XPoSat mission effectively eliminated debris in Earth's orbit by converting the final stage into the PSLV Orbital Experimental Module-3 (POEM-3), which safely re-entered the atmosphere after completing its mission.

PSLV Orbital Experimental Module-3 (POEM-3) 

  • About: It is India's cost-effective space platform created from the spent PS4 stage of the PSLV-C58 vehicle, which successfully launched XPoSat on January 1, 2024.
  • Launched by: PSLV-C58 vehicle
  • Objectives: Deploying XPoSat into a 650 km orbit, followed by a descent to a 350 km circular orbit to minimize orbit decay time post-experiment completion. 
  • It is a three-axis-attitude controlled platform equipped with power generation, telecommand & telemetry capabilities to support various payloads.
  • Orbital: By its 25th day in orbit, POEM-3 completed 400 orbits and currently orbits at approximately 322 km by 352 km. 
  • Payload Operations: POEM-3 carried nine payloads from VSSC, PRL, Academia, and Space start-ups through IN-SPACe. All payloads, including ARKA200, RUDRA, LEAP-TD, WeSAT, BeliefSat0, RSEM, DEX, 100 W Fuel Cell Power System, and Si-C based High Power Li-Ion Battery, met their objectives with data collection during every orbit.
  • Debris-Free Mission: With POEM-3's anticipated orbital decay and re-entry in three months, the PSLV-C58 XPoSat mission stands out for leaving zero debris in space, contributing to responsible space exploration practices.


  • The increasing number of satellites orbiting Earth has led to a surge in space debris, presenting a significant challenge.
  • LEO, where most space debris resides, encompasses crucial satellites for communication, navigation, and intelligence gathering, making debris mitigation imperative.
  • Space debris in LEO hurtles at extraordinary speeds, up to 27,000 kilometres per hour, posing a substantial threat to operational satellites due to their sheer momentum and volume.