The India Space Research Organization (ISRO) has been grabbing the global highlights for the past few days given the successful landing of Chandrayaan 3 at one of the least discovered South Pole of Earth’s celestial friend, Moon. As it continues to make the world gawk at its vivid exploration, we bring you a glimpse of the journey of ISRO from its beginnings till today and even forward.
It all started with the setting up the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) in 1963, which marked the beginning of the Indian Space Programme. The Space Commission and the Department of Space (DOS) were established by the Government of India in 1972 to promote unified development and application of space science and technology for identified national objectives.
The Indian Space Programme is directed towards the goal of self-reliant use of Space technology for national development, its main thrusts being:
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is the research and development wing of DOS. It is responsible for the execution of the national space programme. ISRO also supports the country’s universities and other academic institutions for research and development projects, to the country’s space programme.
Both the DOS and ISRO Headquarters are located in Bangalore. However, the development activities are carried out at the Centres and Units spread over the country.
In the annals of space exploration, few organisations have achieved as much as the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). From its humble beginnings in the early 1960s to its remarkable feats in the 21st century, ISRO has become a pioneer in space science and technology.
ISRO’s journey began on August 15, 1969, when it was officially founded by Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, often regarded as the father of India’s space program. Dr. Sarabhai’s vision was to harness space technology for the betterment of India’s society and economy. At its inception, ISRO operated with a small team and limited resources. Still, it was fueled by a sense of purpose and determination.
Several important milestones marked ISRO’s early years. In 1975, India launched its first satellite, Aryabhata, into orbit. This achievement signalled India’s entry into the space race and set the stage for more ambitious missions to come. Over the next decade, ISRO continued to develop its capabilities, launching satellites for communication, remote sensing, and meteorology.
One of the most significant turning points in ISRO’s history came in the early 1990s with the successful Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) launch. The PSLV emerged as a reliable and cost-effective workhorse for ISRO, capable of launching satellites into various orbits. In 1998, the PSLV-C2 mission made history by launching ten satellites into orbit, including India’s first remote sensing satellite, IRS-1C.
The successful launch of the PSLV-C11 in 2008 marked another pivotal moment for ISRO. This mission, also known as Chandrayaan-1, aimed to explore the Moon. Chandrayaan-1 made headlines worldwide when it discovered water molecules on the lunar surface, revolutionising our understanding of Earth’s celestial neighbour.
In 2013, ISRO again captured the world’s attention with its Mars Orbiter Mission (Mangalyaan). This mission was a remarkable achievement on multiple fronts. It made India the fourth space agency globally to reach Mars and the first to do so on its maiden attempt. The mission’s cost-effectiveness was even more astonishing, with a budget lower than many Hollywood movies.
Mangalyaan’s success showcased ISRO’s ability to execute complex interplanetary missions precisely. It also demonstrated the organisation’s commitment to exploring and understanding the mysteries of the cosmos.
ISRO’s reach extended beyond Earth’s orbit with the launch of the Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC) system. This regional satellite navigation system, akin to GPS, provides accurate positioning and timing information over India and the surrounding region. NavIC is not only a technological achievement but also a testament to ISRO’s commitment to improving the lives of people through space technology.
ISRO’s prowess in communication satellites has also been instrumental in connecting India’s vast and diverse population. The launch of GSAT series satellites has greatly enhanced India’s telecommunication, broadcasting, and internet services. These satellites have improved connectivity within India and have been used to provide telecommunication services to neighbouring countries.
ISRO’s cost-effective and reliable launch services have made it a preferred choice for satellite deployment for countries worldwide. The Antrix Corporation, ISRO’s commercial arm, has successfully launched numerous foreign satellites, generating revenue and showcasing India’s capabilities in the global space industry.
Chandrayaan-3 represents the third instalment in the Chandrayaan program, a series of lunar exploration missions meticulously crafted by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Launched in July 2023, this mission comprises a lunar lander christened Vikram and a lunar rover named Pragyan, mirroring the components deployed during the Chandrayaan-2 mission in 2019.
The journey of Chandrayaan-3 commenced from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre on July 14, 2023. Subsequently, the spacecraft seamlessly entered lunar orbit on August 5, an impressive feat in itself. The climax of the mission was the touchdown of the lander in the enigmatic lunar south-polar region, a location of great intrigue and scientific importance.
Upon reaching the Moon’s uncharted south pole region, Chandrayaan-3 embarked on a pivotal phase by deploying the Pragyan rover, designed to traverse the cratered lunar surface. Equipped with integrated cameras, this rover began capturing captivating videos of its lunar surroundings, sending back valuable visual data to Earth. Additionally, it diligently commenced its scientific endeavours, conducting research activities meticulously planned for its anticipated two-week vacation on the Moon’s surface.
The achievements of Chandrayaan-3 not only signify India’s persistent pursuit of lunar exploration but also exemplify the remarkable advancements in space technology and the indomitable spirit of scientific curiosity that continue to drive humanity’s quest for knowledge beyond our planet. As we receive these transmissions from the lunar surface, we are reminded of the boundless potential that lies ahead in our exploration of the cosmos. Chandrayaan-3 is a beacon of hope and inspiration for the future of space exploration.
Aditya-L1 represents an upcoming coronagraph spacecraft meticulously conceived and developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in collaboration with various prestigious Indian research institutions. This innovative spacecraft has been designed with the primary objective of studying the intricacies of the solar atmosphere.
Aditya-L1 is poised to be approximately 1.5 million kilometres from Earth, nestled in a halo orbit encircling the L1 Lagrange point. This Lagrange point resides amidst the gravitational interplay between our planet and the Sun, affording a unique vantage point for comprehensive solar observations.
The spacecraft’s mission is multi-faceted, primarily scrutinising the enigmatic solar atmosphere. This entails studying the dynamic and complex solar magnetic storms, shedding light on their origins, mechanisms, and behaviour. Furthermore, Aditya-L1 will investigate the repercussions of these solar phenomena on the surrounding environment of Earth, providing valuable insights into their potential impacts.
This groundbreaking endeavour represents a significant milestone for India’s space exploration efforts, as it marks the nation’s maiden mission entirely dedicated to solar observation. The launch of Aditya-L1 is slated to occur aboard a PSLV-XL launch vehicle at precisely 11:50 hrs. Indian Standard Time (IST) on September 2, 2023.
Aditya-L1 promises to enhance our understanding of the Sun’s behaviour and its profound influence on our celestial neighbourhood. By venturing into the realms of solar study, India continues to demonstrate its commitment to advancing space science and contributing to the global pursuit of knowledge in this fascinating field.
A high-level delegation from the Sultanate of Oman, led by H.E. Eng. Said Hamood Said Al Maawali, Honourable Minister of Transport, Communication, and Information Technology (MTCIT), recently visited ISRO Headquarters on August 17, 2023, to discuss India-Oman space cooperation. Accompanied by senior Omani officials, including Dr. Saoud Humaid Salim Al Shoaili, Head-National Space Program, the Minister engaged with ISRO leadership to explore collaborative ventures, including satellite development, ground station establishment, and potential rocket launches within Oman.
During the visit, ISRO unveiled a dedicated Web-based GIS Portal for Oman, offering satellite data, geospatial layers, and value-added services tailored to the Sultanate’s needs. This visit further strengthens the India-Oman space relations, as established in a 2018 Memorandum of Understanding for peaceful space exploration.
ISRO’s journey has not been without its challenges. The organisation has faced setbacks, including mission failures that taught valuable lessons. Learning from failures and adapting quickly has been a hallmark of ISRO’s success. It has continually evolved, improved its technology, and refined its processes to become a leader in the space community.
(12 August 1919 – 30 December 1971)
(15 October 1931 – 27 July 2015)
Throughout its history, ISRO has been blessed with visionary leaders and brilliant scientists and engineers who have dedicated their lives to the organisation’s mission. Dr Vikram Sarabhai’s vision laid the foundation, and subsequent leaders like Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam and Dr. K. Radhakrishnan continued to steer ISRO toward excellence.
Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, who later became India’s President, played a pivotal role in India’s space program, particularly in developing the Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV) and SLV-3, which marked India’s first successful satellite launch.
ISRO’s journey is far from over. The organisation has set ambitious goals for the future, and the recently launched Chandrayaan-3 was one of them. Along with it, there is also the Gaganyaan mission to send Indian astronauts into space and the Aditya-L1 mission to study the Sun, which is scheduled to be launched on September 2 2023. These endeavours represent India’s commitment to advancing its capabilities in space exploration and contributing to our understanding of the universe.
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How to Join ISRO?
To join ISRO, the first and foremost requirement is to study science, mathematics, and physics in high school. You must be familiar with the basics of all the three disciplines. It is advised to score 75% or above in these subjects, as mentioned earlier.
To proceed further, there are some pathways you can follow to join ISRO.
What Courses Should I Pursue to Work at ISRO?
Chandrayaan 3 and the launch of Aditya L-1 signifies much more than a mere mission; it serves as the inception of India’s reinvigorated space ambitions, marking the commencement of a historic chapter of discovery that will resonate through the annals of time and propel us further into the cosmos.
The ascent of ISRO is a testament to human ingenuity, determination, and the power of vision. From its humble beginnings to its remarkable achievements in space exploration, ISRO has transformed India’s technological landscape and made significant contributions to our understanding of the cosmos. With its visionary leadership, dedicated scientists, and ambitious goals, ISRO is poised to continue its ascent into the future, further solidifying its place on the global stage of space exploration. As we look to the stars, we can be sure that ISRO will be among the leading lights guiding us into the unknown.