India In Space

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.

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) was established in 1969 and is currently under the Department of Space. The Chairman of ISRO since 1984, Prof. U. R. Rao, stepped down and was replaced in April, 1994 by Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan, who also carries the titles Secretary of the Department of Space and Chairman of the Space Commission. With headquarters at Bangalore, ISRO now boasts of a workforce of approximately 17,000 .

The corporate headquarters of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is located in Bangalore, but, activities related to satellites, launch vehicles, and applications are carried out at numerous centers throughout the country. The development of the sensors and payloads is the responsibility of ISRO's Satellite Application Center (SAC) in Ahmedabad. ISRO Satellite Center (ISAC) in Bangalore is responsible for the design, development, assembly, and testing of satellites. Vikram Sarabhai Space Center (VSSC), at Tiruvananthapuram, is responsible for launch vehicles. Liquid propulsion modules, including cryogenic engines, are developed at the Liquid Propulsion Systems Center located near Tiruvananthapuram. Satellite launching takes place from Sriharikota, north of Madras, referred to as SHAR. Hassan, near Bangalore, is where the Master Control facilities for satellite station keeping are located. The reception and processing facilities for remote sensing data are available at National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA), in Hyderabad.

The manned space program of the Indian Space Research Organization has depended entirely upon Russia and the first Indian cosmonaut became the 138th man into space. He spent eight days in space aboard Salyut 7. Launched along with two other Soviet cosmonauts aboard Soyuz T-11 on 2 April 1984, was then-Squadron Leader Rakesh Sharma, a 35 year old Indian Air Force pilot.

During the flight, Sqn. Ldr. Rakesh Sharma conducted multispectral photography of northern India in anticipation of the construction of hydroelectric power stations in the Himalayas. Rakesh Sharma and his backup, Wing Commander Ravish Malhotra, also prepared an elaborate series of zero-gravity Yoga exercises which Sharma had practiced aboard the Salyut 7.
Now with the rank of Wing Commander, Rakesh Sharma, currently works at Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. as a test pilot for the IAF. He is based at the Aircraft & Systems Testing Establishment, in Bangalore and will be one of the first test pilots to fly the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft currently under development.

Since the 1960's India and the United States have also been cooperating on a variety of space ventures, which was expanded in 2001.

On January 25, 2004, India and Brazil signed a Framework Agreement for cooperation in the field of outer space. The agreement was signed by Mr. Yashwant Sinha, Minister of External Affairs, on behalf of Government of India and Mr. Celso Amorim, Minister of External Relations, on behalf of Government of Brazil in the presence of Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee, Prime Minister of India and Mr. Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil.

Besides the Framework Agreement, an agreement on the programme of cooperation between the two space agencies was also signed. This agreement, signed by Mr. G Madhavan Nair, Chairman, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and Mr. Luiz Bevilacqua, President, Brazilian Space Agency (AEB), envisages Joint research in space and atmospheric sciences, exchange of proposals for remote sensing applications, launch of a Brazilian micro-satellite for atmospheric studies by India and setting up of a ground station in Brazil for receiving remote sensing data from ISRO's remote sensing satellite, RESOURCESAT-1.

Various Organizations Involved in the India Space Programme:

Vikram Sarabhai Space Center (VSSC). ISRO's single largest facility, near Trivandrum providing the technology base for launcher & propulsion development.

Liquid Propulsion Systems Center (LPSC). Development branches in Bangalore and Trivandrum are supported by major test facilities at Mahendragiri for wide spectrum of liquid motors, from reaction control system thrusters to the 720kN Vikas and cryogenic engines.

ISRO Satellite Center (ISAC). ISRO's lead center for the design, fabrication & testing of science, technology and applications satellites.

ISRO Inertial Systems Unit (IISU). Provides inertial systems & components for satellites and launchers.

SHAR Center. The ISRO's orbital launch site and largest solid motor production and test facility.

ISRO Telemetry, Tracking & Command Network (ISTRAC). Headquartered in Bangalore, ISTRAC operates a network of ground station to provide TTC support for launcher & satellite operations.

Space Applications Center (SAC). Located at Ahmedabad, SAC is ISRO's applications R&D center, including communications, remote sensing and geodesy.

Development & Educational Communications Unit (DECU) at Ahmedabad.

INSAT Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan, 180km from Bangalore.

Our Outer Space Special Continues With The Following From 2005...

Space Special | Rocketing Into Space | India In Space | Europeans In Space
Women Among The Stars | Cosmology and Astronomy | Reaching For The Stars
Antigravity (Fiction) | Not To Go Into Space (Opinion) | Telescopes
Night Skies January-February 2005 | Space in Film, TV, VHS and DVD
Astrology January-February | Cartoons Part 5 (Marvin The Martian) | Books (Space in Print)


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