By Indrani Chanda:
India has already attained a very popular and respectable position in space programmes. The researches and achievements have enlisted India as one of the most innovative countries in the world. In the 1960s, an Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR) was formed by the Department of Atomic Energy for India’s interest in space sciences. Later, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) was set up by Mr Vikram Ambalal Sarabhai to bring new dimension to space technology.
India achieved its first successful exploration in 1980 when the satellite Rohini-1 was launched. The two great pioneers Vikram Ambalal Sarabhai and Satish Dhawan provided us Indians with great prosperity in the field of space programmes. Whereas Vikram Sarabhai was the founder of the Physical Research Laboratory, The Space Science Research Institute, the Department of Space, Satish Dhawan was the longest serving director of the Indian Institute of Science. Vikram Sarabhai set up the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station and also sought to spread education to the distant villages through Satellite Instructional Television Experiment.
To understand India’s development in Space programmes, let us go through the space chronology:-
1963– First sounding rocket launched from TERLS (November 21, 1963).
1965 -Space Science and Technology Centre (SSTC) established in Thumba.
1967 – Satellite Telecommunication Earth Station set up at Ahmadabad.
1969 – Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) formed under Department of Atomic Energy.
1972 – Space Commission and Department of Space set up. ISRO brought under DOS (June 1, 1972).
1975 – ISRO becomes Government Organisation (April 1, 1975). First Indian Satellite, Aryabhata, launched (April 19, 1975).
1979 – Bhaskara-I, an experimental satellite for earth observations, launched (June 7, 1979). First Experimental launch of SLV-3 with Rohini Technology Payload on board (August 10, 1979). Satellite could not be placed in orbit.
1981- First developmental launch of SLV-3. 1984 – Indo-Soviet manned space mission (April 1984).
1987 – First developmental launch of ASLV with SROSS-1 satellite on board (March 24, 1987). Satellite could not be placed in orbit.
2001 – First Launch of the GSLV successfully completed on April 18, 2001.
2002 – ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C4, successfully launched KALPANA-1 satellite from Sriharikota(September 12, 2002). Successful launch of INSAT-3C by Ariane from Kourou French Guyana, (January 24, 2002).
2003 – ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C5, successfully launched RESOURCESAT-1 (IRS-P6) satellite from Sriharikota(October 17, 2003). Successful launch of INSAT-3E by Ariane from Kourou French Guyana, (September 28, 2003). The Second developmental launch of GSLV-D2 with GSAT-2 on board from Sriharikota (May 8, 2003). Successful launch of INSAT-3A by Ariane from Kourou French Guyana, (April 10, 2003).
2004 – The first operational flight of GSLV (GSLV-F01) successfully launched EDUSAT from SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota (September 20, 2004)
2005 – Successful launch of INSAT-4A by Ariane from Kourou French Guyana, (December 22, 2005). ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C6, successfully launched CARTOSAT-1 and HAMSAT satellites from Sriharikota (May 5, 2005).
To strengthen the development, ISRO has launched many vehicle technologies such as Satellite Launch Vehicle(SLV), Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle(ASLV), and Polat Satellite Launch Vehicle(PSLV), Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle(GSLV) and GSLV-III. The objective of ISRO is mainly the development of space technology on a national and an international level. It has taken into account two major satellite systems, Indian National Satellites(INSAT) for communication services and Indian Remote sensing(IRS) satellites for management of natural resources.
India, is now celebrating the joyous victory of launching two new satellites which is also its 100th mission. The successful launching of PSLV-C21 has only added to the pride of the Indian scientists. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has described this incident as “a milestone in our nation’s capabilities”. He also added ”India is justly proud of its space scientists, who have overcome immense odds to set up world class facilities and develop advanced technologies. We owe a great deal to pioneers like Dr Vikram Sarabhai and Prof Satish Dhawan”
As far as the future projects are concerned, ISRO has planned to send Chandraayan-2 with an unnamed mission to Mars to orbit the planet and India is also looking at landing a wheeled rover on the Moon in 2014. ISRO is also planning to launch Mangalyaan, an orbited mission to Mars, by 2013. It also has plans to launch a mission to the sun by 2014 and also to Venus by 2015.
India, often described as a fast growing country in science and technology is now trying to reach the peak of success. In collaboration with other countries, it has managed to develop the space programmes and missions and sure has achieved tremendous success. It is important to quote Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement regarding the development and prosperity of Indian science and space technology “The launch of these satellites on board an Indian launch vehicle is testimony to the commercial competitiveness of the Indian space industry and is a tribute to Indian innovation and ingenuity”.