The beginning of the Indian space program can be traced back to 1962 when the Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR) was established by the work of independent India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru and his close aide and scientist Vikram Sarabhai.
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In November 1969, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) was established to institutionalize the Indian space programme. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) had its headquarter situated in Bangalore for the rapid development of space technologies and their applications. However, the organization’s current headquarters is located in the city of Bengaluru. This organization aims to harness space technology for national development while pursuing planetary exploration and space science research.
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is managed by the Department of Space which reports to the Prime Minister of India.
Other Space Research Organizations include;
VIKRAM SARABHAI SPACE CENTRE (VSSC): This center is the focal point for the development of satellite launch vehicles and related space technologies. It is situated at Thiruvananthapuram.
ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC): This center is situated in Bangalore and is the focal point for developing satellite technology and implementing satellite system for scientific, technological and applications missions.
SATISH DHAWAN SPACE CENTRE (SDSC) SHAR: this is the primary launch center of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). This center has facilities for launch vehicles integration, solid propellant casting, range operation comprising telemetry tracking and command network, launch operations, mission control center and static testing of solid motors.
LIQUID PROPULSION SYSTEM CENTRE (LPSC): This is the lead center for the development of cryogenic and liquid propulsion for launch vehicles and satellites.
SPACE APPLICATIONS CENTRE (SAC): This center is located in Ahmadabad and it focuses on the development of payloads for communication, meteorological and remote sensing satellites.
DEVELOPMENT AND EDUCATIONAL COMMUNICATION: UNIT (DECU): This center is located in Ahmadabad and focuses on the definition, implementation, planning, socioeconomic evaluation and conception of innovative configuration for space applications.
ISRO TELEMETRY, TRACKING AND COMMAND NETWORK (ISTRAC): This center is located in the city of Bangalore. It is responsible for providing mission support to low earth orbit satellites and launch vehicle missions.
MASTER CONTROL FACILITY: This facility is located at Hassan in Karnataka and Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh. This facility is in charge of observing, monitoring and controlling all the geostationary satellites of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
ISRO INERTIAL SYSTEM UNIT (IISU): This unit is situated at Thiruvananthapuram and it performs resource and development in inertial sensors and systems.
NATIONAL REMOTE SENSING AGENCY (NRSA): This is an autonomous institution located in Hyderabad and is under DOS. The institution is in charge of satellite data acquisition and processing data dissemination, aerial remote sensing and decision support for disaster management.
PHYSICAL RESEARCH LABORATORY (PRL): Located in Ahmadabad, this laboratory is an autonomous institution that is mainly supported by DOS. It is in charge of multidisciplinary research in Earth sciences, Basic science, Space sciences, Planetary science, Astrophysics, and Astronomy.
NATIONAL ATMOSPHERIC RESEARCH LABORATORY (NARL): This laboratory is situated at Gadanki near Tirupati. It is an autonomous center supported by DOS. It is the main center for atmospheric research facilities such as Troposphere, Mesosphere and Stratosphere radar, and LIDAR.
REGIONAL REMOTE SENSING SERVICE CENTERS (PRSSC): There are five of these types of centers that have been established by the DOS at Dehradun, Bangalore, Nagpur, Jodhpur, and Kharagpur. These centers are used to support the various remote sensing tasks that are specific to their areas as well as at the national level.
NORTH EASTERN – SPACE APPLICATION CENTRE (NE SAC): This center is situated at Shillong and it is a joint program of DOS and North Eastern Council. This center was created to provide development support to the North Eastern region using space science and technology.
ANTRIX CORPORATION LIMITED: This is the top marketing agency under the DOS that has access to resources of DOS and Indian Space industries. It is situated in Bangalore.
SEMICONDUCTOR LABORATORY (SCL): This laboratory is in charge of the design and development of very large scale integration (VLSI) devices and the development of systems for telecommunications and space sectors.
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES OF INDIA SPACE PROGRAMME
The main objective of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is to use space technology and its applications to perform various national responsibilities. The organization is also responsible for cost-effective technologies for space activities.
The economic progress of India has made its space program more active and visible as the nation is looking for greater self-reliance in space technology. It also aims to improve international cooperation in space exploration.
The India Space Research Organization (ISRO) is also responsible for;
Improving mass communication and education with the use of satellites.
For developing indigenous satellites and satellite launch vehicles.
Managing and surveying natural resources via remote sensing technology, environmental monitoring, and meteorological forecasting.
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The first Indian satellite, Aryabhata was constructed by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and it was launched by the Soviet Union on 19 April 1975. The satellite was named after the famous Indian mathematician, Aryabhata. The ISRO was also able to launch Rohini which became the first satellite to be sent into orbit by an Indian-made launch vehicle in 1980. The launch vehicle was known as SLV-3.
The organization also designed and built two more rockets named the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) for placing satellites into geostationary orbits and the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) for launching satellites into polar orbits. These rockets have been used to launch several Earth observation satellites and communication satellites. It has also been used to launch satellite navigation systems like IRNSS and GAGAN. The organization was able to use an indigenous cryogenic engine in a GSLV-D5 launch of the GSAT-14 in January 2014.
India was able to successfully launch as many as eleven satellites in 2008 and proceeded to become the first country to launch ten satellites on one rocket. Nine of these satellites are from other countries. The two main satellite systems that have been put into operation by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) are the Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellites for management of natural resources and the Indian National Satellites (INSAT) for communication services.
In the past 5 decades, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has been able to successfully launch more than 80 satellites for different scientific and technological purposes like direct to home services, disaster warning, remote sensing, mobile communication, radio networking, telecommunication, telemedicine, and meteorological observations.
On October 22, 2008, the organization was able to successfully launch a lunar orbiter, Chandrayaan-1 to space. On November 5 3013, the organization was also able to successfully send a Mars orbiter, Mars Orbiter Mission to space and it reached Mars orbit on September 24, 2014. This is what made India the first country to succeed on its first attempt to Mars. The ISRO was also the first space agency in Asia and the fourth in the world to reach Mars orbit.
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) also set another record on June 18, 2016, by being the first space agency to successfully launch twenty satellites to space in one payload. One of these satellites was from Google. The organization also creates a world record by launching one hundred and four satellites to space in a single rocket (PSLV-C37) on February 15, 2017.
On June 5, 2017, the ISRO launched the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV-Mk III) which was its heaviest rocket. The rocket carried the communication satellite GSAT-19 into Earth’s orbit. The organization is now capable of sending a 4-ton heavy satellite into Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO).
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has also revealed some of its future plans to the public. These plans include the development of a reusable launch vehicle, Human spaceflight, solar spacecraft mission, Small Satellite Launch Vehicle, Unified Launch Vehicle and controlled soft lunar landing, interplanetary probes.
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has also signed inter-governmental space cooperation agreements with other countries like Chile, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Ukraine, Russia, the United States, France, India, Pakistan, Italy, Germany, and some other countries. The governmental space cooperation agreements have resulted in significant achievements.