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Space


Indian Space Agencies

India’s involvement in the space sciences dates to the 1920s when Scientist Mr. S.K.Mitra conducted a series of experiments in Kolkata to sound the atmosphere using ground-based radio techniques. The Government of India started to invest in space in 1950s, shortly after Independence. From 1950 to 1962, the Department of Atomic Energy funded research in the space sciences. The Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR), established in 1962, was the progenitor of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) that was established under the leadership of Dr. Vikram Sarabhi in 1969.

The Indian Space Programme had a modest beginning with the launch of the first sounding rockets in November 1963 from the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS), an obscure fishing village near Thiruvananthapuram for the investigation of ionosphere using sounding rockets. Further, the Indian Space Programme was institutionalized in November 1969 with the formation of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The Space program got further fillip in June 1972, when the Government of India constituted the Space Commission and established the Department of Space (DOS). ISRO was also brought under the newly formed DOS in September 1972.

The Department of Space (DOS) and the Space Commission were set up in 1972 to formulate and implement Space policies and programs in the country. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is the research and development wing of the Department of Space and is responsible for executing the programs and schemes of the Department in accordance with the directives and policies laid down by the Space Commission and the DOS. The Space program is executed through the ISRO Centre/Units and the Grant-in-aid Institutions.

Despite its limited resources, India has and is continuing to develop a broad-based space program with indigenous launch vehicles, satellites, control facilities, and data processing. Since its first satellite was orbited by the USSR in 1975 and its first domestic space launch was conducted in 1980, India has become a true space-faring nation and an example to other Eurasian countries wishing to move into the space age. Today's Indian remote sensing, communications, and meteorological satellites are comparable to many similar space systems operated by more affluent countries, and by the end of the decade India may be one of only a half dozen countries/organizations with a geostationary launch capability.

An inter-ministerial Space Commission coordinates space-related issues at the highest government levels for policy-making and implementation through the Department of Space and ISRO. Along with ISRO in the Department of Space are the National Remote Sensing Agency, the National Natural Resources Management System, the National Mesosphere Stratosphere-Troposphere Radar Facility, and the Physical Research Laboratory.

The Space Commission formulates the policies and oversees the implementation of the Indian space program to promote the development and application of space science and technology for the socio-economic benefit of the country. DOS implements these programs through, mainly, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), National Atmospheric Research Laboratory (NARL), North Eastern-Space Applications Centre (NE-SAC) and Semi-Conductor Laboratory (SCL). The Antrix Corporation, established in 1992 as a government owned company, markets the space products and services. The establishment of space systems and their applications are coordinated by the national level committees, namely, INSAT Coordination Committee (ICC), Planning Committee on National Natural Resources Management System (PC-NNRMS) and Advisory Committee of on Space Sciences (ADCOS).

The Secretariat of DOS and ISRO Headquarters are located at Antariksh Bhavan in Bangalore. Programme offices at ISRO Headquarters coordinate the programs like satellite communication, earth observation, launch vehicle, space science, disaster management support, sponsored research scheme, contracts management, international cooperation, safety, reliability, publications and public relations, budget & economic analysis, civil engineering and human resources development.

The Department of Space is largely project and mission oriented. The nature of Outcome of the Space Programmes will be mainly in the form of (a) Indigenous capability to develop and realise complex space systems such as satellites and launch vehicles; (b) Creating infrastructure in Space by launching and operationalisation of satellites including Space operations, which are utilised by various user agencies for national development; (c) Capacity building in terms of critical technologies and ground technical infrastructure of relevance for future and (d) Benefits to the society arising from application of space technology/systems such as IRS satellites, INSAT satellites in various fronts.

The primary objective of DOS is to promote the development and application of Space Science and Technology for socio-economic benefit of the nation. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is the research and development wing of the Department of Space and is responsible for executing the research and development programs and schemes of the Department in accordance with the directives and policies laid down by the Space Commission and the DOS. The Space program is executed through the ISRO Centre/Units and its Grant-in-aid Institutions i.e., the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), the National Atmospheric Research Laboratory (NARL), the North-Eastern Space Applications Centre (NE-SAC) and Semi-conductor Laboratory (SCL).

The Antrix Corporation Limited (ACL), a wholly-owned Government Company established in 1992, is the apex marketing agency under DOS with access to resources of DOS as well as Indian Space industries. The establishment of space systems and their utilization are co-ordinated by national Committees, namely the INSAT Co-ordination Committee (ICC), the Planning Committee of National Natural Resources Management System (PC-NNRMS) and the Advisory Committee on Space Sciences (ADCOS). The ISRO Headquarters co-ordinates the overall programs like launch vehicle, satellite communication, earth observation, space science, atmospheric science, space-industry development, disaster management support, international co-operation etc.

  • NRSC: National Remote Sensing Centre
  • PRL: Physical Research Laboratory
  • NARL: NationalAtmospheric Research Laboratory
  • NE-SAC: North Eastern Space Applications Centre
  • SCL: Semi-Conductor Laboratory
  • ISRO: Indian Space Research Organisation
  • Antrix: Antrix Corporation Limited
  • VSSC: Vikram Sarabahi Space Centre
  • LPSC: Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre
  • SDSC: Satish Dhawan Space Centre
  • ISAC: ISRO Satellite Centre
  • SAC: Space Applications Centre
  • IISU: ISRO Inertial Systems Unit
  • DECU: Development and Educational Communication Unit
  • MSF: Master Control Facility
  • RRSSCs: Regional Remote Sensing Service Centres
  • ISTRAC: ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command network
  • LEOS: Laboratory for Electro-optic systems
  • IIST: Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology



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