India in Space
In India, the space program we were formerly launched in 1972 with the setting up of the Space Commission and the Department of Space. Advancement in areas of communication, meteorology, resources survey, and management, develop satellites, launch vehicles, and associated ground systems were the initial objectives.
Since then, India has made impressive progress in this field. Space technology has not only enhanced India’s communication capabilities but has also contributed to meteorological forecasting, providing advanced disaster warnings, search and rescue measures, and distance education to remote areas.
From a historical perspective, the first Indian satellite was Aryabhata, which was launched by a Soviet rocket on 19th April 1975.
This was launched from a cosmodrome near Moscow. It was designed and built by Indian scientists and engineers of the Indian Space Research Organization. Orders and instructions were transmitted to the experimental 360 kg satellite Aryabhata from the control station at Sriharikota.
Bhaskara-I was the second Indian satellite and Bhaskara-II the third which were launched from the same Soviet cosmodrome mainly for observations on the earth.
With the successful launch of SLV-3 on 18th July 1980 when a 35 kg satellite called Rohini I was placed in LEO, India became only the seventh nation in the world to achieve space orbit capability. This was the first time when a satellite was launched from Indian soil.
This was followed by the development of SLV-3 D1, launched, on 31st May 1981 injecting a 38 kg Rohini-Dl satellite into an orbit near the earth. Its life ended prematurely, nine days after the launch instead of 90 days as envisaged.
The second development flight SLV-3 D was launched on April 17, 1983, from the launch pad Sriharikota. It put the 41.5 kg Rohini satellite RS-D2 into low earth orbit. It carried a two-band solid-state camera called ‘smart sensors’ to take images of identification of landmarks for orbit.
It could also classify the ground features such as water, vegetation, cloud, and snow and helped in evaluating the performance of the vehicle for future flights.
APPLE, which is an abbreviation of the Ariane Passengers Payload Experiment, was India’s first geostationary telecommunication satellite.
It was shot into orbit on June 19, 1981, by European Space Agency’s Ariane rocket from Kourou in French Guyana. Since 1982, a series of multi-purpose application satellites like INSAT-1A, INSAT-1B, INSAT-1C INSAT-1D, INSAT-2A, INSAT-2B, INSAT-2C, INSAT-2D, INSAT-2E, and INSAT-3B has been launched. LNSAT-1B and INSAT-1C are geostationary satellites. Nowadays, INSAT-1B is used extensively for weather forecasting.
INSAT-1B is also used to r&eive and retransmit telephone calls. INSAT-2A launched in 1992, is the first indigenously built multi-utility satellite, hurled into space by Ariane’s vehicle from Kourou.
Launched on March 22, 2000, INSAT1 3B is the first satellite from the third generation, is meant for business, development, and mobile communication.
The telecommunication and mass communication capabilities of the INSAT system, which is linked with the International Telecommunication Satellite (INTELSAT), is being used by the Oil & Natural Gas Commission (ONGC), the Indian Post & Telegraph Department with 28 fixed and 3 transportable stations, Doordarshan, Indian Meteorological Department, All India Radio, etc.
India’s first operational Earth Observation satellite IRS- 1 A, an 850 kg satellite was launched into a 900 km polar orbit on 17th March 1988 by a Soviet rocket. In 1997, India used its own rocket PSLV to place IRS-1D into polar orbit.
On April 18, 2001, GSAT-1 was successfully launched by India’s first development flight of GSIAT-1 from Sriharikota in A.P.
It marked the maturing of India’s space lunch capabilities. The satellite is meant for conducting communication experiments. And on October 22, 2001, ISRO’S Polar Satellite. Launch Vehicle (PSLV) successfully launched three satellites Technology Experiments Satellite (TES) of India, Bispectral Infrared Detection Satellite (BIRD) of Germany, and Project for On-Board Autonomy (PROBA) of Belgium.
The principal rocket & satellite testing and launching station are SHAR in Sriharikota island in Andhra Pradesh. The IS RO satellite center in Bangalore has the primary responsibility for planning, design, development, fabrication, integration, test, and qualification of satellites.
The primary tasks of the Space Application Centre at Ahmedabad are to conceptualize, plan and execute projects. National Remote Sensing Agency at Secunderabad, an autonomous registered society supported by the Department of Space, utilizes modern remote sensing techniques for planning and management of the country’s natural resources and provides Operational support for various users.
The experimental data of NRSA finds application in many fields such as land use, pollution monitoring, soil classification, agriculture, etc. cartography, geological and geographical survey, oceanography, agriculture, etc.
Satellite technology has strengthened existing telegraphy, telephony, wireless telegraphy, and also radio communication. Bio-prospecting in India is becoming a lot easier, with satellites helping Indian scientists reap nature’s benefits.
Scientists are using the Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellites to map vegetation, ecological zones, and landscapes to provide valuable information that biologists could use in their hunt for new resources. Researchers from more than a dozen institutes have teamed up for the research project supported by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and the Department of Space (DOS).