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Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Achievements & Challenges

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)

Indian Space Research Organisation, or ISRO, is the country of India’s space agency. It was established in 1969 to support the creation of an indigenous space project in India. The Department of Space of the Government of India oversees ISRO, a space agency with headquarters in Bengaluru, Karnataka. Its goal is to pursue planetary exploration, space science research, and national development via space technology. Antrix Corporation Limited (ACL), the marketing division of ISRO, is in charge of commercialising space products, providing technical consulting services, and transferring innovations created by ISRO.

Currently, ISRO is among the top six space agencies in the world. Through a network of centres, offices, and research institutes dispersed around the nation, ISRO serves the needs of the country by maintaining one of the largest fleets of remote sensing (IRS) and communication (INSAT) satellites in the world. Broadcasting, weather forecasting, disaster management, geographic information systems, navigation, cartography (maps), telemedicine, remote education satellites, and other services are all provided by ISRO.

Chandrayaan-3 Mission

Chandrayaan-3 is a follow-on mission to Chandrayaan-2 to demonstrate end-to-end capability in safe landing and roving on the lunar surface. LVM3 M4 vehicle successfully launched Chandrayaan-3 into orbit on July 14, 2023. Chandrayaan-3 successfully soft-landed on the south pole of the moon’s surface on August 23, 2023, and the Pragyaan Rover ramped down from the Vikram Lander and India took a walk on the moon on August 24, 2023. For detailed information about Chandrayaan-3 Mission click here.

Upcoming Missions of ISRO

The following are some of the upcoming ISRO Missions:

Name Details
Shukrayaan Mission Following the successful launch of the Mars satellite, ISRO plans to launch a Venus satellite with the working name of Shukrayaan.
Own Space Station ISRO intends to launch its first space station by 2030, joining China, Russia, and the US in the league.
XpoSat ISRO created the space observatory XpoSat to examine cosmic X-rays.
Aditya L1 Mission A satellite with a 1.5 million km (mile) range between Earth and the Sun is to be launched by the Indian Space Programme.
NISAR Mission NASA-ISRO SAR (NISAR) is a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) observatory being jointly developed by NASA and ISRO. NISAR will map the entire globe in 12 days and provide spatially and temporally consistent data for understanding changes in Earth’s ecosystems, ice mass, vegetation biomass, sea level rise, groundwater and natural hazards including earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes and landslides

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Background

Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, the man responsible for launching India’s space project in the 1960s, started space research activities there. Three main elements have been a part of the Indian space project from the beginning: communication and remote sensing satellites, the space transportation system, and application programmes.

Dr. Ramanathan and Dr. Sarabhai established INCOSPAR (Indian National Committee for Space Research). SITE, or Satellite Instructional Television Experiment, was run in 1975–1976. It was referred to as “the largest sociological experiment ever.” Following it was the “Kheda Communications Project (KCP),” which acted as a field laboratory for need-based and location-specific programme transmission in Gujarat.

The Department of Space was founded in 1972, although INCOSPAR was renamed the Indian Space Research Organisation in 1969 (now, ISRO is a division of the Department of Science). The following are the pivotal moments in ISRO history:

  • The greatest sociological experiment ever done, SITE (Satellite Instructional Television Experiment), took place in 1975–1976.
  • Gujarat is where the Kheda Communications Project was founded. The undertaking served as a field lab.
  • In addition, ISRO created and launched Aryabhata, the first Indian spacecraft, utilising a Soviet launch vehicle.
  • In 1980, SLV-3 made its maiden successful flight.
  • Apple introduced the first satellite-based communication system.
  • Antrix Corporation Limited (ACL), the ISRO’s marketing division, was established to advance and sell the use of space products.
  • ISRO built a few specialised centres. These include the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) and the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) in Thiruvananthapuram, as well as the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) in Hyderabad, the Space Applications Centre (SAC) in Ahmedabad, and the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC-SHAR) in Sriharikota.

ISRO Achievements

Since the Indian Space Research Organisation was founded, its employees have worked very hard to accomplish its goals. The following missions were successfully launched by ISRO:

ISRo achievements

Communication Satellites

With nine operational communication satellites in Geostationary orbit launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the Indian National Satellite (INSAT) system, which went into service in 1983 with the commissioning of INSAT-1B, is one of the largest domestic communication satellite systems in the Asia-Pacific region.

The communications market in India underwent a significant transition as a result, which it sustained throughout time. The INSAT system supports telecommunications, satellite news gathering, television transmission, societal applications, weather forecasting, disaster warning, and search and rescue activities. Here are some of ISRO’s key communication satellites:

Name of the Satellite Launch Vehicle Launch Date Application
EDUSAT GSLV-F01 / EDUSAT(GSAT-3) Sep 20, 2004 Communication
GSAT – 8 Ariane-5 VA-202 May 21, 2011 Communication, Navigation
GSAT – 12 PSLV-C17/GSAT-12 Jul 15, 2011 Communication
GSAT – 9 GSLV-F09 / GSAT-9 May 05, 2017 Communication
GSAT – 19 GSLV Mk III-D1/GSAT-19 Mission Jun 05, 2017 Communication
GSAT – 17 Ariane-5 VA-238 Jun 29, 2017 Communication
GSAT – 6A GSLV-F08/GSAT-6A Mission Mar 29, 2018 Communication
GSAT – 29 GSLV Mk III-D2 / GSAT-29 Mission Nov 14, 2018 Communication
GSAT – 11 Mission Ariane-5 VA-246 Dec 05, 2018 Communication
GSAT – 7A GSLV-F11 / GSAT-7A Mission Dec 19, 2018 Communication
GSAT – 31 Ariane-5 VA-247 Feb 06, 2019 Communication

Earth Observation Satellites

Since the launch of IRS-1A in 1988, ISRO has launched a number of operational remote-sensing satellites. One of the largest satellite constellations for remote sensing is now run by India. Different instruments have been constructed and flown onboard to serve various national and international purposes in order to deliver the essential data at diversified temporal, spectral, and geographical resolutions. These satellites’ data are then utilised by ISRO for a variety of purposes, including disaster management, the management of ocean resources, forestry, environmental protection, mineral prospecting, rural development, urban planning, water resources, and agriculture.

The table below includes a list of ISRO’s significant Earth observation satellites, together with information about their launch vehicle and the date of launch:

Name of the Satellite Launch Vehicle Launch Date Application
Bhaskara-I C-1 Intercosmos Jun 07, 1979 Earth Observation, Experimental
Rohini Satellite RS-D1 SLV-3D1 May 31, 1981 Earth Observation
Oceansat (IRS-P4) PSLV-C2/IRS-P4 May 26, 1999 Earth Observation
The Technology Experiment Satellite (TES) PSLV-C3 / TES Oct 22, 2001 Earth Observation
CARTOSAT – 1 PSLV-C6/CARTOSAT-1/HAMSAT May 05, 2005 Earth Observation
RISAT – 2 PSLV-C12 / RISAT-2 Apr 20, 2009 Earth Observation
Oceansat – 2 PSLV-C14 / OCEANSAT – 2 Sep 23, 2009 Climate & Environment, Disaster Management System
CARTOSAT – 2B PSLV-C15/CARTOSAT-2B Jul 12, 2010 Earth Observation
RESOURCESAT-2 PSLV-C16/RESOURCESAT-2 Apr 20, 2011 Earth Observation
Megha – Tropiques PSLV-C18/Megha-Tropiques Oct 12, 2011 Climate & Environment, Disaster Management System
RISAT – 1 PSLV-C19/RISAT-1 Apr 26, 2012 Earth Observation
SARAL PSLV-C20/SARAL Feb 25, 2013 Climate & Environment, Disaster Management System
CARTOSAT-2 Series Satellite PSLV-C34 / CARTOSAT-2 Series Satellite Jun 22, 2016 Earth Observation
INSAT-3DR GSLV-F05 / INSAT-3DR Sep 08, 2016 Climate & Environment, Disaster Management System
SCATSAT-1 PSLV-C35 / Cartosat-2 Series Satellite Sep 26, 2016 Climate & Environment
RESOURCESAT-2A PSLV-C36 / Cartosat-2 Series Satellite Dec 07, 2016 Earth Observation
Cartosat-2 Series Satellite PSLV-C37 / Cartosat-2 Series Satellite Feb 15, 2017 Earth Observation
Cartosat-2 Series Satellite PSLV-C38 / Cartosat-2 Series Satellite Jun 23, 2017 Earth Observation
Cartosat-2 Series Satellite PSLV-C40/Cartosat-2 Series Satellite Mission Jan 12, 2018 Earth Observation
HysIS PSLV-C43 / HysIS Mission Nov 29, 2018 Earth Observation

Navigation Satellites

The Airport Authority of India (AAI) and ISRO are collaborating to build the GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) system in order to meet the requirements of Civil Aviation. Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) is a regional satellite navigation system being established by ISRO in order to satisfy customer requirements for positioning, navigation, and timing services based on indigenous technology.

Experimental Satellites

Many small satellites, usually for research, have been launched by ISRO. This experiment makes use of payload development, orbit controls, atmospheric research, remote sensing, and recovery technology. The following is a list of the key experimental satellites that ISRO has launched:

Name of the Satellite Launch vehicle Launch Date Application
Aryabhata PSLV-C40/Cartosat-2 Series Satellite Mission Apr 19, 1975 Experimental
Rohini Technology Payload (RTP) PSLV-C16/RESOURCESAT-2 Aug 10, 1979
APPLE Ariane-1(V-3) Jun 19, 1981 Communication, Experimental
YOUTHSAT SLV-3E1 Apr 20, 2011 Student Satellite
INS-1C C-1 Intercosmos Jan 12, 2018 Experimental

Small Satellites

The small satellite project will soon offer a platform for standalone payloads for science and earth imaging missions. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has developed two different bus types, the Indian Mini Satellite -1 (IMS-1) and Indian Mini Satellite – 2 (IMS-2), to offer a versatile platform for different payloads.

Here is a list of the small satellites that ISRO has launched:

Name of the Satellite Launch Vehicle Launch Date Application
YOUTHSAT PSLV-C16/RESOURCESAT-2 Apr 20, 2011 Student Satellite
Microsat PSLV-C40/Cartosat-2 Series Satellite Mission Jan 12, 2018 Experimental

Space Science & Exploration Satellites

Satellites fall within this group: The first dedicated Indian astronomy mission, AstroSat, studies celestial sources simultaneously in the X, optical, and UV spectral bands. The true first interplanetary mission of ISRO, the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), was launched on November 5, 2013. Both Chandrayaan-1 and Chandrayaan-2, India’s first and second moon missions, included an orbiter, a lander, a rover, and other components.

Academic Institute Satellites

Educational institutions have been impacted by ISRO operations, such as the development of connectivity, remote sensing, and astronomy satellites. Universities and other organisations have been more interested in creating experimental student satellites as a result of the Chandrayaan-1 launch.

Here is a table listing the ISRO-launched academic institute satellites:

Satellite Name Launch Vehicle Launch Date
ANUSAT PSLV-C12 / RISAT-2 Apr 20, 2009
Jugnu PSLV-C18/Megha-Tropiques Oct 12, 2011
SWAYAM PSLV-C34 / CARTOSAT-2 Series Satellite Jun 22, 2016
SATHYABAMASAT PSLV-C34 / CARTOSAT-2 Series Satellite Jun 22, 2016
PRATHAM PSLV-C35 / SCATSAT-1 Sep 26, 2016
Kalamsat-V2 PSLV-C44 Jan 24, 2019

Scramjet (Supersonic Combusting Ramjet) Engine

The Supersonic Combusting Ramjet Engine Test, or Scramjet, was successfully completed by ISRO in August 2016. The fuel for the Scramjet engine is hydrogen, while the oxidizer is oxygen from the surrounding air. With a longer flight time, the new propulsion system will enhance ISRO’s reusable launch vehicle.

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Objective

ISRO has the ambition to develop space technology for the benefit of the country and to conduct planetary exploration and space science research. The following are the main goals of ISRO:

  • The Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV), Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), and Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) operational flights.
  • To plan, create, and launch communication and earth observation satellites.
  • Designing and developing fresh approaches to space transportation is another important goal of ISRO.
  • To create satellites for planetary exploration and space science, as well as satellite navigation systems.
  • To create tools for more accurate earth observation.
  • To develop a system based on space for use in society.
  • Developing proper training, education, and capacity-building programmes for students interested in space technology is one of ISRO’s main goals.

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Challenges and Opportunities

Even though ISRO’s success stories are celebrated all over the world, the organisation still faces obstacles in accomplishing its objectives. The Indian Space Programme has the following problems and opportunities:

  • India is not in a situation where it is facing specific security and development concerns since it is a developing nation. For instance, ISRO is called into question and forced to defend the funding for missions that need a lot of work but have little to do with development.
  • Since China tested an anti-satellite missile (ASAT) in 2007, the country has upped the threat level. In addition to the one on the ground, it can start in space. There have been military weaknesses since India relied on satellites like MOM.
  • The US or other nations must cooperate with the DRDO while it develops a missile.
  • China launched the satellite in 2011 and 2012 to target Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) UPSC

One of the most significant scientific institutions in the nation and a recent boon to India is ISRO. The ISRO-launched satellites have been successful in gathering the needed information, making them a crucial component of India’s development. Being so important for the nation, it is also a key subject for UPSC hopefuls because many questions from the ISRO UPSC notes are asked in the IAS Exam.

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Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) FAQs

What does ISRO Stands For?

The Indian Space Research Organisation, or ISRO, is the country's space agency and is located in Bengaluru, Karnataka. The ISRO's goal is to perform planetary exploration and space science research while using space technologies to advance national development.

Is Chandrayaan-3 successful?

"India successfully launches Chandrayaan-3 marking another significant milestone in space exploration.

How many centres are there in ISRO?

There are six main centres within ISRO. These include the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC), the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), the Space Applications Centre (SAC), the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC-SHAR), and the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) in Hyderabad.

When was ISRO Formed?

On August 15, 1969, Dr. Vikram A. Sarabhai founded ISRO. The Indian government did, however, create the Department of Science and the Space Commission in 1972. ISRO was established under the Department of Science on June 1st, 1972.

What is main Objective of ISRO?

The Indian Space Research Organization's main goal is to create space technology in order to meet various national demands. To accomplish this, ISRO has created INSAT and the Indian Remote Sensing Satellite System.

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