India's Space missionIndia’s Space program has made giant strides on world stage since its inception in late 1960s. From launching small rockets of just 30-70 kg payloads to carrying 4,000 kg payloads to the outer space, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has come a long way since its formation on August 15, 1969.

The journey which started humble & now after achievements like PSLV, GSLV, Cryo engines, MOM, Moon & now a moon lander has put India in the league of handful of countries who can boast of possessing such technology.

India’s Space journey started when ISRO built India’s first satellite, Aryabhata, which was launched by the Soviet Union on April 19, 1975. Five years later, Rohini became the first satellite to be placed into orbit by an Indian-made launch vehicle, SLV-3. In 1992, ISRO launched Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle (ASLV) & Insat – 2A.

In the last decade the Indian space program leap frogged to break several world records and position India as a country with formidable space technology which is cutting edge as well as cheap. Some of these achievements include:

  • In 2008, ISRO sent an unmanned lunar orbiter, Chandrayaan-1, into orbit. The spacecraft was orbiting around the Moon at a height of 100 km from the lunar surface for chemical, mineralogical and photo-geologic mapping of the Moon.
  • India launched Mars Orbiter Mission on 5 November 2013 and entered Mars’ orbit on 24 September, 2014, making India the first nation to succeed on its maiden attempt to Mars.
  • On 15 February 2017, ISRO launched 104 satellites in a single rocket (PSLV-C37), a world record. ISRO launched its heaviest rocket, Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV-Mk III)
  • On 5 June, 2017 and placed a communications satellite GSAT-19 into the orbit. ISRO successfully launched GSAT-29 satellite from Sriharikota, the heaviest satellite weighing at 3,423 kg aims at providing better communication for remote areas of country.
  • On November 14, 2018 Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) launched a communication satellite GSAT-29 on its rocket GSLV-Mk-III D2 from Satish Dhawan Space Center at Sriharikota.

For any developing country the space program is important for two reasons; first, tangible benefits to society and its people. Second, these space programs often are tied to the country’s broader development objectives, including building a national science and technology base. India’s space program has contributed to the country’s economic growth, supported beneficial societal applications, and helped to build broader scientific and technical capacities  and  infrastructure.

The programmes/ missions drawn up and proposed by Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) for the socio-economic development of the country include

  1. Earth Observation programme for natural resources inventory and management (like agriculture, land and water resources, fisheries), near real time disaster management support, weather forecasting, smart governance;
  2. Satellite Communication programmes for telecommunication, television broadcasting, Direct-to-Home services, search and rescue, tele-education, telemedicine and
  3. Satellite Navigation programme for location based services.

India has not only used its space program to develop the country but the region. India launched a communication satellite in 2017 known as SAARC satellite for use of all members of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. The South Asia Satellite provides crucial information on tele-medicine, tele-education, banking and television broadcasting opportunities. It is also equipped with remote sensing state of the art technology which enables collection of real-time weather data and helps in observations of the geology of the South Asian nations.

Where the advancement in space and rocket technology has helped India strengthen its defence, India’s space program has primarily been driven for the development of the country and region.