The space program had its genesis in the Indian National Committee of Space Research, which was established in 1962 as part of the Department of Atomic Energy. In 1972 the Department of Space and the Space Commission were established as the executive and policy wings of the program. The Department of Space operates the lift Space Research Organisation (ISRO, established in 1969) and four independent projects: the Indian Nation Satellite Space Segment Project, the Natural Resource Management System, the National Remote Sensing Agency, and the Physical Research Laboratory. The department also sponsors research in various academic and research institutions. The ISRO is headquartered in Bangalore and has operating units at twenty-two sites through the country that deal with space systems, propulsion, communications, telemetry and tracking, research, launches, and other facets of the space program. The major achievements of the space program have been in the area of the domestic design, production, and launching of remote sensing and communications satellites. The primary goal of the space program is to have independent remote sensing and communications satellite systems with launcher autonomy.

In 1992 the ISRO set up the Antrix Corporation to market space and telecommunications products to help recover some of the costs of the annual space budget.

The Objectives of Space Program

The Indian Space programme is characterized by a vision to use space technology for national development. The Programme is application driven with emphasis on the policy of self-reliance. The primary objective of the space programme is to establish operational space services in a self-reliant manner in various thrust areas of satellite communication, satellite based resource survey/management and satellite meteorological applications. The indigenous development of satellites, launch vehicles and associated ground segment for providing these services is integral to those objectives. It involves two aspects viz.:

  1. Fabrication of Satellite
  2. Development of launch vehicle

India’s space programme (ISP) is committed to peaceful uses of outer space. Its objective is to establish operational space services in a self reliant manner.

Department of space was established in 1972, it’s the nodal agency in the field of outer space. It provides necessary policy output qualification to various space research institute govt., also organized finances for various space related activities in the country; it’s a part of Ministry of Science and technology


India’s Space Research Organisation (ISRO)

In India Space activities started in the sixties with the establishment of Thumba equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS). The efforts were consolidating with formation of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in 1960. The space programme got further fillip in June 1972, when the Government of India constituted. The space commission and established the department of space (DOS). ISRO was bought under newly formed DOS in September 1972 to formulate and implement space policies and programmes in the country. The prime objective of ISRO is to develop space technology and its application to various national tasks. ISRO has established two ace major Space systems, INSAT for communication, television broadcasting and meteorological services, and Indian Remote Sensing Satellites (IRS) system for resources monitoring and management. ISRO has developed two satellite launch vehicles, PSLV and GSLV, to place INSAT and IRS satellites in the required orbits.

The Indian Space Research Organisation is the primary body for space research under the control of the Government of India. The corporate headquarters of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is located in Bangalore, but, activities related to satellites, launch vehicles, and applications are carried out at numerous centres throughout the country. The development of the sensors and payloads is the responsibility of ISRO’s Satellite Application Centre (SAC) in Ahmedabad. ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC) in Bangalore is responsible for the design, development, assembly, and testing of satellites. Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), at Tiruvananthapuram, is responsible for launch vehicles. Liquid propulsion modules, including cryogenic engines, are developed at the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre located near Tiruvananthapuram. Satellite launching late place from Sriharikota north of Madras, referred to as SHAR. Hassan, near Bangalore, is where the Master Control facilities for satellite station keeping are located. The reception and processing facilities for remote sens-ablished data are available at National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA), in Hyderabad.

The prime objective of ISRO is to develop space technology and its application to various national tasks. ISRO has established two major space systems, INSAT for communication, television broadcasting and meteorological services, and Indian Remote Sensing Satellites (IRS) system for resources monitoring and management. ISRO has developed two satellite launch vehicles, PSLV and GSLV, to place INSAT and IRS satellites in the required orbits.

Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC)

  • Lead centre for rocket and launch vehicle projects.
  • R&D activities cover avionics, aeronautics, materials and mechanical engineering, solid propulsion and composites, propellants, polymers and chemicals, systems reliability and computer and information.
  •  Ammonium Per chlorate Experimental Plant under VSSC functions at Aluva.
  •  Space Physics Laboratory carries out research in atmospheric and related space sciences.
  • Achievements include development of sounding rockets, ISRO launch vehicles, SLV 3, ASLV and Pi GSLV is under development.

ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC)        

  •  Lead centre for satellite technology.
  • Activities cover digital systems, power systems, communication and microwave systems, spacecraft assembly integration and testing, structures, thermal, spacecraft mechanisms, control systems, spacecraft mission planning and analysis, computers and information, systems reliability and space physics.
  •  Facilities include fabrication and test facilities for satellite projects.
  • Laboratory for Electro-Optic Sensors (LEOS) works under the overall umbrella of ISAC Achievements include design and development of 23 satellites so far of various types like scientific, communication and remote sensing. INSAT-2E, IRS-P4, IRS-P5, IRS-P6 and G-SAT are current projects.

Satish Dhawan Space Centre, SHAR

Main launch centre of ISRO, 100 km north of Chennai.

Processes solid propellant motors and conducts ground tests.

Launch ranges at Thumba also for sounding rockets.

Achievements include establishment of launch complexes for Sounding rockets, SLV- 3, ASLV and PS. Launch complex augmented for GSLV.

Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC)

Engaged in development of liquid and cryogenic propulsion stages for launch vehicles and auxiliary propulsion systems for both launch vehicles and satellites.

Activities related to liquid propulsion stages, cryogenic propulsion stages and control systems for lain vehicles and spacecraft at Thiruvananthapuram. Test facilities are located at Mahendragiri in Tamil to Precision fabrication facilities, development of transducers and integration of satellite propulsion systems carried out at Bangalore.

Achievements include development of liquid propellant stages for PSLV, control systems for SLV-3, ASLV, PSLV and GSLV, satellite propulsion systems including those for INSAT and IRS and production of pressure transducers.

Cryogenic Upper Stage for GSLV under development.

Space Applications Centre (SAC)

It is one of the major centres of the Indian Space Research Organisation that is engaged in the research, development and demonstration of applications of Space Technology in the field of Communications, Remote Sensing Meteorology and Satellite Navigation. This includes R&D on onboard systems, ground systems and end use equipment hardware and software. Its achievements include development of communication and meteorology payloads for INSAT, Optical and Microwave payloads for IRS satellites. SAC provides its infrastructure to conduct training courses to the students of CSSTEAP. SAC has three campuses; two are located at Ahmedabad and one is located at Delhi.

ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC)

Provides mission support to near-earth satellites and launch vehicle missions.

  •  Has a network of ground stations at Bangalore, Lucknow, PortBlair, Sriharikota, Thiruvananthapuram. Besides, ISTRAC has TTC stations at Mauritius, Bearslake (Russia), Biak (lndonesia) and Brunei. A multi-mission Spacecraft Control Centre is located at Bangalore.
  •  Currently supporting IRS-1B, IRS-1C, IRS-1D IRS-P3, IRS-P4 and SROSS-C2 satellites.
  •  Operates Local User Terminal/Mission Control Centre (LUT/MCC) under the international Satellite-Aided Search and Rescue Programme.

INSAT Master Control Facility (MCF)

  •  Responsible for post-launch operations on INSAT satellites including orbit manoeuvres, station keeping and on-orbit operations.
  •  At present supporting on-orbit operations on INSAT-3A, INSAT-3B, INSAT-3C, INSAT-3E, Kalpana-1 and GSAT- 3 satellites

Regional Remote Sensing Service Centre

Recognizing the need and importance of natural resources management in the country, Government of India has set-up the National Natural Resources Management System (NNRMS). NNRMS is an integrated approach for management of natural resources, optimally utilizing the advantages of conventional systems and the information derived through remote sensing. Department of Space (DOS) is the nodal department in Government of India for evolution, establishment of NNRMS and all remote sensing related activities. With a view to have optimum use of space technology for national development it was felt necessary to create facilities for analysing remote sensing data to derive planning related inputs on natural resources of our country. Towards this, DOS has established five Regional Remote Sensing Service Centres (RRSSCs) in the country for speedy operationalization of remote sensing as an integral component of natural resources inventory, monitoring and management. RRSSCs enable e use of remote sensing technology at a reasonable cost to derive necessary information on various aspects related to natural resources. These centres are located at Jodhpur (Western Region), Dehradun (Northern Region), Kharagpur (Eastern Region), Nagpur (Central Region) and Bangalore (Southern Region) and function under RRSSC, Central Management Office, ISRO Headquarters, Antariksh Bhawan, Bangalore.

Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST)

The Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST), which is a deemed to be University under Sec.3 of the UGC Act 1956, was set up under Department of Space, Government of India. IIST focuses on high-end research activities with the country’s space programmes and related innovative ventures.

The Institute provides a full-fledged infrastructure of International standards to develop an excellent academic and research atmosphere. The academic programme for the year 2007-2008 started in a full fledged alternate campus adjacent to the world renowned Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre at Thiruvananthapuram. Development of permanent campus near Thiruvananthapuram, has been initiated and is expected to be realized in the next one year.

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