Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is the spatial organization of the government of India. Headquarters of the organization are in Bangalore. ISRO established in 1969 preceded by Indian National Space Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR) established up in 1962 under the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) with the vision of Dr. Vikram Sarabhai. Department of Space (DOS). The department became the parent organization to ISRO. Dr. Vikram Sarabhai and Homi Bhabha started India’s space program. The duo started the Physics Research Laboratory and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, respectively.
The INCOSPAR set up the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) in Thiruvananthapuram for upper atmospheric research. Aryabhata, the Soviet Union launched ISRO’s first satellite in 1975. By 1980 ISRO had developed its own ingenious launch vehicle SLV-3. ISRO has not looked back. The space organization launched Polar Launch Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) for placing the satellite into geostationary orbits. We have developed satellite navigation systems like GAGAN and IRNSS. ISRO used its indigenous cryogenic engine GSLV D5 to launch GSAT-14.
ISRO has used space technology for various purposes to serve the nation. ISRO has become one of the sixth largest agencies in the world. ISRO maintains one of the largest communication satellites INSAT and remote sensing IRS satellites used for earth observation. ISRO delivers satellites for specific applications like broadcast, communication, weather forecast, Geographic Information systems to name a few.
ISRO has contributed immensely to the field of science and education. Research centers and autonomous institutes for remote sensing, astronomy, atmospheric science, astrophysics and space science function under DOS.
ISRO has sent its lunar mission Chandrayan-1 on 22 October 2008. The mission provided valuable data to the scientific community and successfully found ice on the lunar surface.
The space organization made a breakthrough with the first interplanetary mission with the Mars Orbit mission or Mangalyaan (MOM) on 5th November 2013. India became the first Asian country and the first country to reach the red planet in its maiden attempt. Four other space organizations that have made a successful journey to Mars. The breakthrough mission was completed at a fraction of the cost of other Mars missions
ISRO has many other feathers on its cap. They undertook the heaviest Commercial mission of 1440 kg in 2015. ISRO launched five British Satellites and three optical satellites weighing 447 kg each using Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle C28.
ISRO also created a world record by launching 104 satellites in a single mission. They launched 101 overseas satellites along with the Cartostat-2 series, India’s earth observation satellite. COEP an engineering college in Pune launched its own satellite Swayam from Sriharikota.
Chandrayaan 2 was the second lunar mission developed by ISRO in 2019. The mission comprised a lunar orbiter, Vikram and Pragyan lunar rover. Chandrayaan 2 Lander and rover were stated to land from the south pole. The mission aimed to show the ability to soft-land on the lunar surface and operate the rover on the surface. They hoped to collect valuable lunar surface. They lost communication with the module shortly before Vikram landed. Thermal imaging helped locate Vikram however communication efforts have been unsuccessful. ISRO is working with other space agencies to resume communication with the lander.
ISRO has many interesting projects in hand. Heavy lift launchers, human spaceflight projects, reusable launch vehicles, semi-cryogenic vehicles, single and two-stage to orbit vehicles and solar spacecraft missions are just some plans ISRO is working on. The space agency has ambitious plans to probe other planets. ISRO has become the pride of the country and has inspired many youngsters to pursue science. We hope they achieve greater success.