India’s premier space agency, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), is an entity that makes every Indian’s heart swell with pride. The much revered space agency has single-handedly catapulted the country to the space age and ushered in an era when the Indian space program is held in high regard even in the developed countries.
But how much does the average Indian really know about the ISRO? Get a load of these amazing facts about our space agency and check the ones you already knew-
- ISRO was formed on Independence Day, 1969, by Vikram Sarabhai, the father of India’s space program, in the face of wide-spread opposition within the country, as to why a poor, developing nation needed a space agency.
- The ISRO headquarters are located in Bengaluru, Karnataka. Other than that, it also has 13 centres spread all over India.
- India is a member of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.
- The amount of money that ISRO has spent in the last 40 years of existence is equivalent to half of NASA’s one-year budget.
- ISRO’s first satellite, Aryabhata was launched on 19 April, 1975 from Kapustin Yar rocket launch and development site using a Kosmos-3M launch vehicle by the Soviet Union.
- SLV-3 was India’s first indigenous satellite launch vehicle. The vehicle was launched by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on July 18, 1980. It placed the Rohini series satellite which was India’s first spacecraft to be launched from Indian soil.
- President A P J Abdul Kalam was the Project Director of SLV-3. The SLV-3 weighed 17 tonne and had a payload of 40 kg.
- India recently launched its first dedicated defense satellite, GSAT-7 for the Indian Navy.
- When Pakistani troops took positions in Kargil in 1999, the Indian military sought GPS data for the region from the space-based navigation system maintained by the US government. That data could have provided critical information to the army, but the US denied it to India. Irked by this experience, ISRO decided to build its own indigenous satellite navigation system. This led to the development and launching of the IRNSS constellation of satellites.
- Thus, on July 1, 2013, India became the 6th country in the world to launch its own dedicated navigation satellite System. IRNSS 1A would provide accurate real-time positioning and timing information to users in the country, extending up to 1,500 km around the nation. IRNSS would have a total of seven satellites, out of which four are already placed in orbit.The IRNSS System is designed to provide a position accuracy of better than 20 m in the primary service area.
- The INSAT series of satellites were launched in 1983 by the ISRO to reduce dependence on foreign satellites and to address needs as diverse as telecommunication, broadcasting, meteorology and search and rescue operations. It is the largest domestic communication satellite constellation in the Asia-Pacific region.
- India operates the most sophisticated and by far the largest civilian Remote Sensing Satellite Program in the world through the CARTOSAT series of satellites. These earth observation satellites have been designed and built indigenously by ISRO, in order to address the need to monitor and map the country’s physical and biological resources and their distribution throughout the country. The first of the satellites were launched in 2005, and a total of six CARTOSAT satellites have been launched until now.