In this article, You will read Indian Space Program – for UPSC IAS (Transport, Communication and Trade).

Guys, Try to link this topic with Human Geography’s concept.

Indian Space Program

  • Indian Space Program is guided by a possibilistic approach.
  • Indian Space Program is the tool for regional development.
  • Indian Space Program is based on the network of optical fibre and wireless communication-based systems.

Objectives of Indian Space Program

  • Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is the nodal agency and flag bearer in the Indian Space Program.
  • ISRO performs a wide array of services apart from their main mission of building and launching space missions and their launch vehicles for a wide variety of objectives.
  • ISRO has also contributed to science and science education in the country.
  • Various dedicated research centres and autonomous institutions for remote sensing, astronomy and astrophysics, atmospheric sciences and space sciences in general functions under the aegis of The Department of Space.
  • Thus from above the objectives of the Indian Space Program is twofold:
    • Space discovery and exploration through space missions
    • Promotion of research and education related to space science in the country. E.g. Tele-education in remote areas in India.
  • Some of the other functions of Indian Space Program are:
    • Resource management such as mineral resources, agriculture, marine resources etc.
    • Environment conservation
    • Internal security and terrorism. E.g. use of IRNSS for regional security
    • Weather forecasting
    • Disaster Management

Communications satellites India

  • Indian National Satellite (INSAT) Series
    • The Indian National Satellite (INSAT) system is one of the largest domestic communication satellite systems in the Asia-Pacific region with nine operational communication satellites placed in Geo-stationary orbit.
    • INSAT System consists of 14 operational satellites, namely – INSAT-3A, 3C, 4A, 4B, 4CR, 3DR and GSAT-6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14, 15 and 16.
    • Application of INSAT satellite includes:
      • Educational TV Services
      • Telemedicine Programme
      • Television
      • Satellite Aided Search and Rescue
      • Disaster management
      • Helps in Geopolitics like SAARC satellite.
      • Helps in the commercialization of space programs, like launching the communication satellites of Russia USA, etc.
  • Indian Remote Sensing Satellite (IRS)
    • Starting with IRS-1A in 1988, ISRO has launched many operational remote sensing satellites. Today, India has one of the largest constellations of remote sensing satellites in operation.
    • IRS satellite consists of CARTOSAT, OCEANSAT & RISAT (Resource Sat) Satellites
    • Application of IRS satellites:
      • Disaster Management Support
      • Bio Resources and Environment survey and mapping e.g. RESOURCESAT
      • Cartography e.g. CARTOSAT
      • Agriculture & Soil
      • Rural and Urban Development e.g. National Drinking Water mission

Important Milestones in Indian Space Program

Phase I: 1960-70 (Incipient Stage)

  • Dr. Vikram Sarabhai was the founding father of the Indian space program and is considered not only a scientific visionary.
  • After the launch of Sputnik in 1957, he recognized the potential that satellites provided. India’s first Prime Minister, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, who saw scientific development as an essential part of India’s future, placed space research under the jurisdiction of the Department of Atomic Evergy in 1961.
  • The DAE Director Homi Bhabha, who is regarded as the father of India’s atomic program, then established the Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR) with Dr. Sarabhai as Chairman in 1962.
  • From its establishment in 1962, the Indian space program began establishing itself with the launch of sounding rockets, which was complemented by India’s geographical proximity to the equator.
  • Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) was built near Thiruvananthapuram in south Kerala.
  • India developed an indigenous technology of sounding rockets called Rohini Family of sounding rockets.
  • In 1969, the India Space Research Organisation (ISRO) was created and finally, the Department of Space was established in 1972.

Phase II: 1970-80

  • Sarabhai had taken part in an early study with NASA regarding the feasibility of using satellites for applications as wide as direct television broadcasting.
  • India began the development of satellite technology, anticipating the remote sensing and communication needs of the future.
  • India’s first foray into space began with the launch of its satellite Aryabhata in 1975 by a Soviet booster.
  • By 1979, the SLV was ready to be launched from a newly established second launch site, the Sriharikota Rocket Launching Station (SRLS).
  • The first launch in 1979 was a failure, attributed to control failure in the second stage. By 1980, this problem had been worked out.
  • The first indigenous satellite launched by India was called Rohini.

Phase III: 1980-90

  • Following the success of the SLV, ISRO was keen to begin construction of a satellite launch vehicle that would be able to put the truly useful satellite into polar orbit
  • The Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle (ASLV) was tested in 1987, but this launch was a failure. After minor corrections, another launch was attempted in 1988, and this launch again failed.

Phase IV: 1990-2000

  • It was not until 1992 that the first successful launch of the ASLV took place.
  • The first successful launch took place in 1994, and since then, the PSLV has become the workhorse launch vehicle, placing both remote sensing and communications satellites into orbit, creating the largest cluster in the world, and providing unique data to Indian industry and agriculture.

Developments after 2000

  • In 2001, the first development flight of the GSLV took place.
  • India is developing a project to send an unmanned probes to the moon in 2008, as the first attempt at an exploration of the solar system. This project is called Chandrayaan.
  • ISRO has entered the lucrative market of launching payloads of other nations upon its rockets from Indian soil.
  • After 2010, ISRO has embarked on the following programmes:
    • Launch Vehicle development programme comprising of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), and next generation GSLV Mark-III launch vehicle missions.
    • Earth Observation programme consisting of state-of-the-art Indian remote sensing (IRS) satellites viz. Resourcesat, Cartosat, Oceansat, Radar Imaging Satellite, Geo-Imaging Satellite and weather/climate satellites viz. INSAT-3DR missions.
    • Satellite Navigation programme consisting of constellation of 7 Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) along with associated ground segment intended to provide accurate positional information and timing services.
isro launch vehicles

Dateline of Indian Space Program

1962Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR) formed by the Department of Atomic Energy and work on establishing Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) started.
1963First sounding rocket launched from TERLS (November 21, 1963)
1965Space Science & Technology Centre (SSTC) established in Thumba.
1967Satellite Telecommunication Earth Station set up at Ahmedabad
1968TERLS dedicated to the United Nations (February 2, 1968).
1969Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) formed under the Department of Atomic Energy
1975ISRO First Indian Satellite, Aryabhata, launched (April 19, 1975). Becomes Government Organisation (April 1, 1975)
1979First Experimental launch of SLV-3 with Rohini Technology Payload onboard (August 10, 1979). Satellites could not be placed in orbit. Bhaskara-I, an experimental satellite for earth observations, launched (June 7, 1979).
1980Second Experimental launch of SLV-3, Rohini satellite successfully placed in orbit.(July 18, 1980).
1982INSAT-1A launched (April 10, 1982). Deactivated on September 6, 1982.
1988INSAT-1C launched (July 21, 1988). Abandoned in November 1989. Launch of first operational Indian Remote Sensing Satellite, IRS-1A (March 17, 1988). Second developmental launch of ASLV with SROSS-2 onboard (July 13, 1988). Satellites could not be placed in orbit.
2000INSAT-3B, the first satellite in the third generation INSAT-3 series, launched by Ariane from Kourou French Guyana, (March 22, 2000).
2004The first operational flight of GSLV (GSLV-F01) successfully launched EDUSAT from SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota (September 20, 2004).
2007Successful recovery of SRE-1 after maneuvering it to re-enter earth’s atmosphere And descend over the bay of Bengal about 140 km east of Sriharikota.
2008PSLV-C11 successfully launches CHANDRAYAAN-1 from Sriharikota.
2013PSLV – C25 successfully launches Mars Orbiter Mission Spacecraft from Sriharikota.
2015PLSV-C30 launched 1513kg ASTROSAT into orbit. Along with ASTROSAT, six satellites from international customers.
2016Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) Launch. ISRO’s Scramjet Engine Technology Demonstrator.
2017CARTOSAT-2 launched on PSLV C-37 launching 104 satellites in one go. It was ISRO’s most complicated satellite launch till date.
isro milestones

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Very Nice

Tapan kumar Jena

Sir very good content and well described. But sir could you please add some significance about private sector contribution in India’s space mission from various prospective.Thank you sir..

Shivam Gaur

thank u so much..