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India’s Space Mission: Pioneering Innovation and Exploration

Space technology in the Service of humankind

India’s Story so far:

India’s experience in rocketry dates back to ancient times, when fireworks were first used in the country.

In 1804, William Congreve, inspired by Tipu Sultan’s military use of rockets during the Mysore War against the British, invented the Congreve rocket, a predecessor of today’s artillery rockets.

Back in 1981, when Indian space scientists were gearing up for the launch of its first communication satellite APPLE from the Guiana Space Centre in France, they had loaded the satellite onto a bullock-cart. And here we are today, with an unprecedented achievement of being the first country to successfully land on the dark side of the moon!


Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is the space agency of India. The organisation is involved in science, engineering and technology to harvest the benefits of outer space for India and the mankind. ISRO is a major constituent of the Department of Space (DOS), Government of India. The department executes the Indian Space Programme primarily through various Centres or units within ISRO.

ISRO was previously the Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR), set up by the Government of India in 1962, as envisioned by Dr. Vikram A Sarabhai. ISRO was formed on August 15, 1969 and superseded INCOSPAR with an expanded role to harness space technology. DOS was set up and ISRO was brought under DOS in 1972.


The prime objective of ISRO/DOS is the development and application of space technology for various national needs. To fulfil this objective, ISRO has established major space systems for:

  • Communication,
  • Television broadcasting and meteorological services
  • Resources monitoring and management
  • Space-based navigation services

ISRO has developed satellite launch vehicles, PSLV and GSLV, to place the satellites in the required orbits.

A legacy of Achievements

November 21, 1963 The first sounding rocket was launched from TERLS (Thumba Equatorial

Rocket Launching Station)

November 20, 1967 India’s first indigenous sounding rocket, RH-75, was launched.
April 19, 1975 Aryabhata – First Indian Satellite was launched. It was launched from the former Soviet Union. It provided India with the basis of learning satellite technology and designing.
1975-76 ISRO along with NASA developed means of using space communications system for TV broadcasting.

This resulted in the creation of the project Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE).

April 10, 1982 Indian National Satellite system (INSAT)-1A was launched. This system was for the communication, broadcasting and meteorology.
April 2, 1984 The first Indo-Soviet manned space mission was launched.

Rakesh Sharma became the first Indian citizen to go into space. He flew aboard in the Soviet rocket Soyuz T-11, as part of a three member SovietIndian crew.

March 17, 1988 The first operational Indian Remote Sensing Satellite, IRS-1A was launched.
April 18, 2001 The first developmental launch of Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV)-D1 with GSAT-1 on board took off from Sriharikota.

It was developed keeping in mind the heavier and more demanding

Geosynchronous communication satellites

October 22, 2008 PSLV-C11 successfully launches CHANDRAYAAN-1 from Sriharikota.

Chandrayaan-1 is a scientific investigation – by spacecraft – of the Moon

November 5, 2013 PSLV – C25 successfully launches Mars Orbiter Mission (Mangalyaan) Spacecraft from Sriharikota.
February 14, 2017 Launched a record 104 satellites into space on a single rocket from

Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh using Launch Vehicle PSLV-C37

November 27, 2019 India’s PSLV-C47 successfully launched Cartosat-3 and 13 commercial nanosatellites from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota
February 28, 2021 India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C51 successfully launched Amazonia-1 along with 18 co-passenger satellites .
June 30, 2022 ISRO undertakes PSLV-C53/DS-EO mission.

PSLV-C53 is the second dedicated commercial mission of New Space India Limited (NSIL).

NavIC: India’s own Navigation Satellite System

Some applications of IRNSS are:

Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) :


IRNSS is an independent regional navigation satellite system being developed by India.

It is designed to provide accurate position information service to users in India as well as the region extending up to 1500 km from its boundary.

IRNSS will provide two types of services, namely,

  1. Standard Positioning Service (SPS) which is provided to all the users.
  2. Restricted Service (RS) which is an encrypted service provided only to the authorised users.

The IRNSS System is expected to provide a position accuracy of better than 20 m in the primary service area

  • Terrestrial, Aerial and Marine Navigation
  • Disaster Management
  • Vehicle tracking and fleet management
  • Integration with mobile phones
  • Precise Timing
  • Mapping and Geodetic data capture
  • Terrestrial navigation aid for hikers and travellers
  • Visual and voice navigation for drivers

Recent Noteworthy Missions:

Mission Details Highlights
Chandrayaan 3 Chandrayaan-3 is a follow-on mission to

Chandrayaan-2 to demonstrate end-to-end capability in safe landing and roving on the lunar surface.

It consists of Lander and Rover configuration. It was launched by LVM3 from SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota.

The propulsion module has Spectro-polarimetry of Habitable Planet Earth (SHAPE) payload to study the spectral and Polari metric measurements of Earth from the lunar orbit

Gaganyaan Gaganyaan project envisages demonstration of human spaceflight capability by launching crew of 3 members to an orbit of 400 km for a 3 days mission and bring them back safely to earth, by landing in Indian sea waters.
Aditya L1 Aditya L1 shall be the first space based Indian mission to study the Sun. The spacecraft shall be placed in a halo orbit around the Lagrange point 1 (L1) of the Sun-Earth system, which is about 1.5 million km from the Earth.
Mission Shakti Mission Shakti was undertaken to develop highlypotent Anti-satellite weapons (ASAT). It is a joint programme of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Antisatellite (ASAT) System is missile-based system to attack moving satellites.

Changing Dynamics

The Union Council has given its approval to India’s Space Policy for 2023, which aims at encouraging Private Investment and promoting Public Participation in all aspects of space activities.

It aims to institutionalise private sector participation in the space industry and will enable Indian Space Research Organisation’s research organisation, ISRO, to focus on R&D of advanced space technology.

  • IN-SPACe is a single-window, independent nodal agency under the Department of Space that seeks to promote and enhance the role of Non-Government Entities in the Indian space sector.
  • New Space India Limited (NSIL) is the country’s first public sector undertaking in the space sector and commercial arm of ISRO aimed at production and marketing of space-based services, also empowered to own the operational launch vehicles and space assets of ISRO.

Way Ahead

The global space economy is currently valued at about USD 360 billion. Despite being one among a few spacefaring nations in the world, India accounts for only about 2% of the space economy, with a potential to capture 9% of global market share by 2030.

There is a need to provide scope for Non-Governmental Entities (NGEs) for enhanced participation in Indian space programme and playing key roles to boost India’s market share in Global Space Economy.

India’s space missions have captivated the global community with their awe-inspiring achievements, including lunar mysteries and exploring the red planet. ISRO’s push for space exploration aims to unlock new frontiers and inspire generations to dream beyond Earth’s confines.

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