Short esssay on India’s Space Programme



Starting with a modest beginning in 1963 primarily to carry out sounding rocket experiments in space science, the Indian Space Research Organization SRO) has focused its attention on using space technology for carrying out major identified national tasks on a totally self-reliant basis.

Self-reliance, accomplished with national applications of space technology is the main objectives of the Indian Space programme.

Main thrust areas are: Satellite communications for various national applications including the telecommunication, TV transmission and radio broadcasting,

i) Resources survey and management, environmental monitoring and meteorological services through remote sensing, and

ii) Development of indigenous satellites and launch vehicles to achieve the above objects.

Organization and Research:

The Indian Space programme began in 1962 with the creation of Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR). 'He Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) came into being in 1969. For promoting a unified development and application of space science and technology^ for national development, Space Commission and Department of Space (DOS) were set up in 1972.

The main function of Space Commission is to frame policies which are implemented through Department of Science (DOS) and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is to achieve envisaged objectives.

DOS is the nodal agency and responsible for establishing National Natural Resources Management System (NNRMS) in collaboration with various central and State agencies. ISRO is responsible for planning, programme and management of research and development in the field of space science, technology and applications in our country.

It carries out all the developmental activities through various centers units: Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Trivandrum; ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC), Bangalore, SHAr Centre at Sriharikota (Andhra Pradesh), Space Application Centre (SAC), Ahmedabad; Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) with its facilities at Bangalore, Trivandrum and Mahendragiri; ISRO Telemetry Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) with its network of ground stations and Developmental and Educational Communication Unit (DECU), Ahmedabad and National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA). Hyderabad. Department of Space (DOS) and ISRO headquarters are located at Bangalore.

Vikram Sarabhi Space Centre (VSSC):

Located at Thumba, Trivandrum, it is the largest ISRO centre. It provides the technology base for indigenous satellite launch vehicles development programmes. ASLV (Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle) and GSLV (Geostationary Satellite Launch Vehicle) projects are designed and developed by VSSC. It has the infrastructure needed to support launch vehicle development programmes. The centre is also responsible for development of several space craft sub-systems.

Rohini Sounding Rocket (RSR) programme, for development, production and launch of the Rohi ni series of sounding rockets for upper atmospheric and meteorological research, Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) of ISRO Range Complex (IREX) and Space Physics Laboratory (SPL) are also located here. It has specialized R&D groups for supporting the on-going launch programmes. Major facilities of PSLV Project of VSSC are located at Valiamala and composites development at Vattiyoorkavu. At Alwaye (Kerala), an ammonium perchlorate plant is established.

ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC):

ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC), Bangalore, is the prominent centre for satellite projects of ISRO. It is responsible for indigenous design, fabrication and development of satellite systems for all sorts of scientific, technological and application missions. Aryabhaia, Bhaskara, APPLE, IRS-IA, IB and 1C and INSAT-II TS satellites were built here.

SHAR Centre:

Located in Sriharikota Island on east coast of Andhra Pradesh, it is the ISRO's main launch base for launching satellite launch vehicles and sounding rockets. ISRO Range Complex (IREX), Static Test and Evaluation Complex (STEX), Solid Propellant Space Booster Plant (SPROB), SHAR Computer Facility (SCOF), Programme Planning and Evaluation Group (PPEG) and Sriharikota Common Facilities (SCF) are present here.

Space Application Centre (SPC):

SPC at Ahmedabad is ISRO's, R and D centre for space applications. It is mainly responsible for conceptualisation and execution of plans, projects and research programmes for practical use of space technology particularly in the field of satellite-based telecommunications, and T.V and remote sensing for natural resources survey and management, environmental monitoring, meteorology and geology. The centre is organised functionally into Satellite Communication Area, Remote Sensing Area and Microwave Remote Sensing Programme.

Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC):

LPSC is responsible for designing and development of liquid and cryogenic propulsion systems in both launch vehicles and satellites. It has its establishment facilities at Bangalore and Trivandrum and test facilities at Mahendragiri (Tamil Nadu)

ISRO Telemetry Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) : ISTRAC has its headquarters at Bangalore which monitors and controls low earth orbit satellites while the Master Control Facility at Hassan does the same function for INSAT satellites in geosynchronous orbit.

Development and Educational

Communication Unit (DECU):

DECU unit at Ahmedabad is mainly responsible for development of television programme production, training of television programme personnel, social research especially related to communication and techno-economic studies in support of INSAT services.

National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA):

The NRSA at Hyderabad has earth stations to receive data regarding surveying, identifying, and classifying and monitoring earth resources from report sensing satellites such as LANDSAT, NOAA, SPOT, IRS etc. and sophisticated computer systems. It has also photographic facilities to process the data for supplying to users. It is a premier remote sensing and aerial photo interpretation training centre in the country. The Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (IIRS), Dehradun, is a part of NRSA.

Physical Research Laboratory (PRL): PRL at Ahmedabad is one of the premier centers where basic research on space science is carried out. It is an autonomous institution sponsored by DOS. Solar planetary physics, infrared, astronomy, geocosmophysics, climatology, plasma physics, hydrology and laboratory astrophysics are the main branches of its research programme.