ISRO – Indian Space Research Organization is a government agency with its headquarters in Banglore is responsible for India’s Space programmes. India’s space programme had a humble beginning when Jawahar Lal Nehru established Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR) in 1962. Vikram Sarabhai, now regarded as the father of India’s Space Programme was the key scientist in research and development of Indian Space Technology. INSCOPAR became ISRO in 1969 under the department of Atomic energy. In 1972 Indian government setup a space commission and Department of Space(DOS) and ISRO was brought under DOS thus institutionalizing the space research and development activities in India.
The bandwidth India has developed in the space sector in the past half a century is impressive—different types of satellites (ranging from Earth observation to strategic surveillance), rockets capable of placing satellites in different types of orbits, space telescope, deep space and planetary missions, recently even space warfare (in collaboration with the defence research agency) and finally the human space flight in a couple of years from now. Every mission is a technological challenge and has been achieved with a very high degree of self-reliance and capability developed under stiff international technology embargoes.
Today ISRO is one of the most successful space organisations globally holding the track record of least failures. It’s noteworthy that India owns a space organisation which has almost zero failure ratio. Some of the notable achievements and milestones in the history of ISRO are:
- India’s first indigenous satellite ‘Aryabhatta’ was launched by erstwhile Soviet Union on April 19, 1975.
- ISRO developed Indian National Satellite System (InSat) – a network of satellites launched in 1983 which gave revolutionary leap to India in fields of telecommunications and meteorology. It helped in connecting remote areas of the country.
- ISRO developed Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). The rocket enabled ISRO to launch multiple observation and remote sensing satellites. ISRO set a record by launching over 109 nano satellites from single rocket.
- In 2001, ISRO developed Geosynchronous Launch Vehicle (GSLV) which enabled it to deliver much heavier communication satellites in Geosynchronous orbits.
- As a part of on-going scientific research and space exploration missions ISRO developed Moon Orbiter also known as Chanderyaan. Launched in 2008 Chanderyaan has been a landmark achievement for India in space and lunar exploration. The orbiter was used to map the surface of moon.
- Mars Orbiter (Mangalyaan) was another striking space mission carried out by ISRO. Mangalyaan was launched in 2014 to orbit the planet Mars and collect data about its atmosphere and mineral composition.
- In 2019, ISRO in collaboration with DRDO successfully tested an Anti-Satellite (ASAT) weapon ushering India in to an elite club of nations who possess similar capability. Only four other nations have such capability yet.
ISRO recently introduced the world to it next 10 year plans, majorly focussed to just break all the pre-conceived boundaries. It’s now aiming big and to go interplanetary.
ISRO has declared the long list of missions as follows:
- XPoSat telescope in 2020 [will study cosmic radiations]
- Aditya L1 to Sun in 2021 [will study Sun & predict the climate change on Earth]
- Mars mission-2 in 2022 [orbital probe to Mars]
- Venus mission in 2023 [will study Earth’s neighbour deeply]
- Chandrayaan 3 in 2024 [will explore more on Moon]
- Exoworlds in 2028 [will explore outside the solar system]
It would be very very interesting as well as a proud moment for this new India to witness these breath taking achievements in future.