From launching small rockets of just 30-70 kg payloads to carrying 4,000 kg payloads to the outer space, ISRO has much to celebrate when it comes to space achievements. After India gained independence from British occupation in 1947, Indian scientists and politicians recognized the potential of rocket technology in both defense applications, and for research and development. Recognizing that a country as demographically large as India would require its own independent space capabilities, and recognizing the early potential of satellites in the fields of remote sensing and communication, these visionaries set about establishing a space research organization.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the Indian space agency, founded in 1969 to develop an independent Indian space program. Its headquarters are in Bangalore. Program offices at ISRO Headquarters coordinate the programs like satellite communication, earth observation, launch vehicle, space science, disaster management support, sponsored research scheme, contracts management, international cooperation, safety, reliability, publications and public relations, budget & economic analysis, civil engineering and human resources development. ISRO’s chief executive is a chairman, who is also chairman of the Indian government’s Space Commission and the secretary of the Department of Space. Dr. Vikram Sarabhai was the founding father of the Indian space program and is considered a scientific visionary by many, as well as a national hero. After the launch of Sputnik in 1957, he recognized the potential that satellites provided. India’s first prime minister, 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 Energy in 1961. The DAE director Homi Bhabha, who was the father of India’s atomic program, then established the Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR) with Dr. Sarabhai as Chairman in 1962. With the setting up of INCOSPAR, the space activities in the country were initiated. With the visionary Dr. Vikram Sarabhai at its helm, INCOSPAR set up the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) in Thiruvananthapuram for upper atmospheric research.
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.
The Government of India constituted the Space Commission and established the Department of Space (DOS) in June 1972 and brought ISRO under DOS in September 1972. The Department of Space (DOS) has the primary objective of promoting the development and application of space science and technology to assist in the all-round development of the nation. To launch Vehicle program having indigenous capability for launching spacecraft, INSAT Programme for telecommunications, broadcasting, meteorology, development of education, etc., Remote Sensing Programme for application of satellite imagery for various developmental purposes and research and development in space sciences and technology for serving the end of applying them for national development, were the programs evolved by DOS.
Indian Space Research Organization has made the nation proud of its various achievements. This organization has reached various milestones. As a result, space technology in India has reached new heights through the amazing achievements of ISRO. These include:
Satellite Launch Vehicle
The Satellite Launch Vehicle was launched under the able guidance of APJ Abdul Kalam. Furthermore, the SLV project was an achievement in the early 1970s. The first Indian satellite built entirely in India in 1975 was Aryabhatta.
In 2008, the first space mission to the moon was made by India with the launch of Chandrayaan. Most importantly, it was used to study the topography covering the Earth.
In the year 2012, ISRO launched its 100th space mission and used the PSLV-C21 rocket which placed two satellites in the Earth’s orbit.
Mars Orbiter Mission
ISRO successfully launched Mars Orbiter Mission also known as MOM using PSLV-XL In 2013 and it was one of the biggest achievements of ISRO.
In 2014, India was able to reach Mars successfully at its very first attempt. Notably, only three other space organizations have been able to achieve this. They’ve are NASA, the European Space Program and the Soviet Space Program.
ISRO launched GLSV MK3 in 2014 which is a crew capsule that can take human beings to space.
Launching 104 Satellites Together
ISRO launched 104 satellites using a single rocket from spaceport Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. Notably, it achieved this record with the help of six other nations using the PS: V-C37 in 2017. Moreover, it launched 31 satellites in a single stroke. These satellites were from various countries like UK, U.S., and Germany.
Apart from technological capability, ISRO has also contributed to science and science education in the country. Various dedicated research centers and autonomous institutions for remote sensing, astronomy and astrophysics, atmospheric sciences and space sciences in general function under the supervision of the Department of Space. ISRO’s own Lunar and interplanetary missions along with other scientific projects encourage and promote science education, apart from providing valuable data to the scientific community which in turn enriches science. Future readiness is the key to maintaining an edge in technology and ISRO endeavors to optimize and enhance its technologies as the needs and ambitions of the country evolve. Thus, ISRO is moving forward with the development of heavy-lift launchers, human spaceflight projects, reusable launch vehicles, semi-cryogenic engines, single and two-stage to orbit (SSTO and TSTO) vehicles, development and use of composite materials for space applications, etc.