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Space Tech: New Vistas

  • 09 Feb 2019
  • 10 min read

ISRO got its first success of 2019 by launching Microsat R, a military application satellite, and Kalamsat, a 10cm cubesat made by students, on January 24, 2019. The satellites were launched through a new variant of PSLV (46th flight) called PSLV-DL.

ISRO’s Upcoming Projects

  • Chandrayaan-2 Mission:
    • ISRO has planned 32 missions including the most complex Chandrayaan- 2 during the year 2019.
    • India’s second lunar mission, for the first time, ISRO will attempt to land a rover on the moon’s south pole. Till now, only the U.S., Russia, China has been able to soft-land Spacecraft on the Moon’s Surface.
    • The complex mission will comprise of an Orbiter, Lander and Rover.
    • The Chandrayaan-2 Spacecraft will be launched by GSLV MK III.
    • Mission will encourage new experiments by the use and testing of new technologies.
    • The mission costing around Rs. 800 Crore, is an advanced version of the previous Chandrayaan-1 Mission, launched in 2008.
    • It will be launched in the window from January to February 2019.
  • Launch of GSAT-20 to meet a high output bounded requirement of Digital India and Infra Connectivity.
  • ISRO is also planning to launch a channel called ISRO TV to reach out to the masses.
  • ISRO has planned to send two unmanned missions into space in December 2020 and in July 2021.
  • Gaganyaan:
    • ISRO is preparing to send an astronaut into space in the year 2022 on board the Gaganyaan.
    • Gaganyaan is an Indian Crewed Orbital Spacecraft, intended to be the basis of the Indian Human Spaceflight Program.
    • The Spacecraft is being designed to carry 2-3 people.
    • Gaganyaan will be launched on ISRO’s biggest rocket the GSLV MK III from Sriharikota.
  • ISRO is also aiming to reinstate its microwave remote sensing capabilities through the radar image satellites series and attain operational geo imaging capability through GSAT or a Geo Imaging Satellite Series.
  • ISRO has also planned to progressively improve the payload capability of GSLV and its modules.
  • On the application side, the crop production estimation will be enhanced to cover 10 additional crops and ISRO will also provide vital inputs for water and energy security.


Year Achievement
1975 India’s first satellite ‘Aryabhata’ was launched

Bhaskara-1 Satellites under Mission Rohini were launched

1981 Ariane Passenger Payload Experiment (APPLE) - ISRO’s first indigenous, experimental communication satellite.
1983 Commissioning of the Indian National Satellite (INSAT) system: One of the largest domestic communication satellite systems in the Asia Pacific Region.
1984 Rakesh Sharma made history by becoming first and only Indian to travel to Space in Soviet Rocket.
1988 Launch of first remote sensing mission IRS-1A.
1992 First multi-purpose satellite INSAT-2A was successfully operationalized.
1997 Launched first fully operational satellite aboard a locally developed rocket PSLV.
2002 Kalpana-1: first dedicated meteorological satellite
2004 EDUSAT (GSAT-3): 1st Indian Satellite built exclusively to serve the educational sector.
2005 Launch of INSAT-4A from European Launch Vehicle: the first satellite to meet the requirement of DTH Television Services.
2008 Launch of Chandrayaan-1: Beginning of ISRO’s Historic Moon Mission

IRNSS-1A Navigation satellite

MOM (Mars Orbiter Mission): India is the first nation to succeed on its first attempt to reach Mars.


Made World Record by launching 104 satellites simultaneously through the PSLV C-37 (38th successful mission of PSLV in a row)

GSLV Mark-III (the heaviest rocket ever made by India)

2018 Launch of India’s Heaviest Communication Satellite GSAT-11

Indian Space & ISRO

  • Space Exploration in India began in 1960s. Dr. Vikram Sarabhai was physicist and industrialist who initiated space research and helped in developing nuclear power in India. He is also popularly known as Father of India’s Space Program.
  • Sarabhai was instrumental in establishing the Physical Research Laboratory in Ahmedabad after returning from Cambridge in 1947.
  • India launched its first sounding rocket from Thumba near Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala on 21 November 1963.
  • In 1962, an Indian National Committee for Space Research was set up. It laid the foundation of ISRO in 1969.
  • Indian Government established the Department of Space in June, 1972 and brought ISRO under it in September, 1972.

Recent Initiatives

For Youth:

  • The Young Scientist Program (YSP):
    • ISRO describes this program as the most important in their efforts to reach out to students.
    • Under the YSP, 3 students; eight standard pass will be selected from each of the 29 states and 7 UTs and they will spend one month at ISRO, during which they will be given lectures, access to Research and Development Lab and practical experience in building a small satellite. Dr. Sivan has underscored if the satellite is good, ISRO will launch it. Launch of Kalamsat is an example.
    • This Program is similar to NASA’s Student Outreach.
  • Incubation Centres:
    • ISRO is to set up 6 incubation centres across the country to attract young talent having interest in Space Science.
    • An Incubation Centre has already been developed at Tripura for young scientists who can contribute in Space Science.
    • Navigation, Payload and Communication are the fields where students can contribute. Any model or technology developed by these students will be bought by ISRO.
  • ISRO has tied up with National Institute of Technology (NIT) of Jaipur, Kurukshetra, Varanasi, Patna, Kanyakumari and Jammu. Young Scientists will be encouraged to develop not only satellites but also upgradation in technology as well.
  • UNNATI (UNispace Nanosatellite Assembly & Training by ISRO):
    • The program provides an opportunity for the participant countries to strengthen their capabilities in assembling, integrating and testing nano-satellites.
    • It will be conducted for three years by the U.R. Satellite Centre at ISRO in three batches.
    • It may benefit officials of 45 countries. The first batch which started on 17th January has 30 delegates from 17 countries participating.
  • SAMVAD Program:
    • In order to inculcate or nurture space research further in young minds, ISRO, this year has launched a Student Outreach Program called Samvad with the students at its facility in Bengaluru.
    • The first event saw 40 students and 10 teachers from selected schools interacted with ISRO’s Chairman, Dr. K Sivan.

For Border Management:

The Home Ministry has accepted the recommendations made by a Task Force on the use of Space Technology. The Report compiled by the Task Force has identified the following areas for use the use of Space Technology :

  • to Strengthen Island Development,
  • Border Security,
  • Communication and Navigation (Air Force and Navy Force already have the Satellite for the Communication Purpose)
  • facilitate the development of Infrastructure at border and island areas.

To execute the project in time bound manner, a short, medium and long term plan has been proposed for implementation in 5 years in close coordination with ISRO and MoD.

In short term, immediate need of Border Guarding Forces (BGFs) will be met by procurement of High Resolution Imagery and the hiring of bandwidth for communications.

In the mid term, one satellite (all weather satellite) will be used by ISRO for the exclusive use of Ministry of Home Affairs.

Over the long term, MHA will develop ground segment and network infrastructure to share satellite resources with user agencies, will also develop a central archival facility for storing various imagery resources and dissemination of the same to user agencies.

    • Deployment of central forces in the remote areas will be coordinated through ‘Satellite Communication’.
    • The Indian Regional Navigation System based GPS will be used to provide navigation facilities for operational parties in high altitude, remote, difficult borders and Naxal areas.

    Despite undertaking various initiatives and launching several missions successfully, ISRO continues to explore the Space Technology, itself and its use in different fields like in Disaster Management, Infrastructure Development and so on.

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