The Indian Space Research Organisation is the space agency of the Indian government headquartered in the city of Bangalore. Its vision is to “harness space technology for national development”, while pursuing space science research and planetary exploration. Indian Space Research Organisation, formed in 1969.
The establishment of ISRO thus institutionalised space activities in India. It is managed by the Department of Space, which reports to the Prime Minister of India. Vikram Sarabhai, having identified the role and importance of space technology in a Nation’s development, provided ISRO the necessary direction to function as an agent of development.
ISRO then embarked on its mission to provide the Nation space based services and to develop the technologies to achieve the same independently.
Throughout the years, ISRO has upheld its mission of bringing space to the service of the common man, to the service of the Nation. In the process, it has become one of the six largest space agencies in the world. ISRO maintains one of the largest fleet of communication satellites (INSAT) and remote sensing (IRS) satellites, that cater to the ever growing demand for fast and reliable communication and earth observation respectively. ISRO develops and delivers application specific satellite products and tools to the Nation broadcasts, communications, weather forecasts, disaster management tools, Geographic Information Systems, cartography, navigation, telemedicine, dedicated distance education satellites being some of them.
ISRO built India’s first satellite, Aryabhata, which was launched by the Soviet Union on 19 April in 1975. In 1980, Rohini became the first satellite to be placed in orbit by an Indian-made launch vehicle, SLV-3. ISRO subsequently developed two other rockets: the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) for launching satellites into polar orbits and the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) for placing satellites into geostationary orbits. These rockets have launched numerous communications satellites and earth observation satellites. Satellite navigation systems like GAGAN and IRNSS have been deployed. In January 2014, ISRO successfully used an indigenous cryogenic engine in a GSLV-D5 launch of the GSAT-14.
More than 80 state-of-the-art satellites built over four decades by ISAC, the abode of Indian satellites, stand testimony to the technical excellence the centre has scaled. With about 2500 highly trained and skilled manpower, ISAC today is home to a host of advanced, cutting edge satellite technologies that feeds into the Indian Space Programme. The centre also houses ultra modern design, development, fabrication and testing facilities for satellites.
ISRO sent one lunar orbiter, Chandrayaan-1, on 22 October 2008 and one Mars orbiter, Mars Orbiter Mission, which successfully entered Mars orbit on 24 September 2014, making India the first nation to succeed on its first attempt, and ISRO the fourth space agency in the world as well as the first space agency in Asia to successfully reach Mars orbit.
Future plans include development of GSLV Mk III,(for launch of heavier satellites), ULV, development of a reusable launch vehicle, human spaceflight, further lunar exploration, interplanetary probes, a solar spacecraft mission, etc. As of 24 June 2016, ISRO has launched 131 satellites using indigenously developed launch vehicles out of which 74 are foreign. Also, 29 Indian satellites have been launched by foreign launch vehicles.
As of October 2015, ISRO has agreed to launch 23 foreign satellites of nine different nations including Algeria, Canada, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore and the US.On 18 June 2016 India successfully set a record with launch of 20 satellites in a single payload, one being a satellite from Google.
India’s economic progress has made its space programme more visible and active as the country aims for greater self-reliance in space technology. The centre is presently engaged in the challenging task of building future generation advanced communication, remote sensing, navigation and space science satellites. Satellite systems are used for the economic development of our nation as per the vision of Dr Vikram Sarabhai, founder of Indian Space Programme.