What is ISRO?


Indian Space Research Organisation, formed in 1969, succeeding the erstwhile INCOSPAR. Vikram Sarabhai, having identified the function and importance of space technology in a Nation’s development, provided ISRO the necessary direction to function as an agent of development. ISRO then embarked on its mission to give the Nation space-based services and to develop the technologies to achieve the same independently.

Throughout the years, ISRO has upheld its objectives of bringing space to the service of the common man, to the service of the Nation. In the stages, it has become one of the six biggest space agencies in the world. ISRO maintains one of the massive fleet of communication satellites (INSAT) and remote sensing (IRS) satellites, that cater to the ever-growing demand for fast and reliable communication and earth observation respectively. ISRO creates and delivers application-specific satellite products and tools to the Nation: broadcasts, communications, weather forecasts, disaster management tools, Geographic Information Systems, cartography, navigation, telemedicine, dedicated distance education satellites being some of them.

To achieve total self-reliance in terms of these applications, it was essential to develop cost-efficient and reliable launch systems, which took shape in the form of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). The famed Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle went on to become a favored carrier for satellites of various countries due to its reliability and cost efficiency, promoting unprecedented international collaboration. The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) was developed keeping in mind the heavier and more demanding Geosynchronous communication satellites.

Goals and objectives

The prime goal of ISRO is to use space technology and its application to various national tasks. The Indian space programme was headed by the vision of Vikram Sarabhai, considered the father of the Indian Space Programme. As he said in 1969:

“There are some who question the relevance of space activities in a developing nation. To us, there is no ambiguity of purpose. We do not have the fantasy of competing with the economically advanced nations in the exploration of the Moon or the planets or manned space-flight. But we are convinced that if we are to play a meaningful role nationally, and in the community of nations, we must be second to none in the application of advanced technologies to the real problems of man and society.”

India’s economic progress has made its space program more visible and reachable as the country aims for greater self-reliance in space technology. In 2008 India launched around 11 satellites, including nine from other countries and went on to become the first nation to launch 10 satellites on one rocket.” ISRO has put into operation two major satellite systems: Indian National Satellites (INSAT) for communication services and Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellites for management of natural resources.

In July 2012, the former President, A. P. J. Abdul Kalam said that research was being done by ISRO and DRDO for developing cost reduction technologies for access to space.

The former President of India A. P. J. Abdul Kalam said: “Many individuals with myopic vision questioned the relevance of space activities in a newly independent nation, which was finding it difficult to feed its population. Their vision was clear if Indians were to play a meaningful role in the community of nations, they must be second to none in the application of advanced technologies to their real-life problems. They had no intention of using it as a means of displaying our might.”

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