Indian space programme
India recognised the importance of space science and technology for the socio-economic development of the society soon after the launch of Sputnik by erstwhile USSR in 1957. The Indian space efforts started in 1960 with the establishment of Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station near Thiruvananthapuram for the investigation of ionosphere. The foundation of space research in India was laid by Dr. Vikram Sarabai, father of the Indian space programme. Initially, the space programme was carried out by the Department of Atomic Energy. A separate Department of Space (DOS) was established in June 1972. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) under DOS executes space programme through its establishments located at different places in India (Mahendragiri in Tamil Nadu, Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, Bangalore in Karnataka, Ahmedabad in Gujarat, etc...). India is the sixth nation in the world to have the capability of designing, constructing and launching a satellite in an Earth orbit. The main events in the history of space research in India are given below:
1. Aryabhatta - The first Indian satellite was launched on April 19, 1975.
2. Bhaskara - 1
4. APPLE - It is the abbreviation of Ariane Passenger Pay Load Experiment. APPLE was the first Indian communication satellite put in geo - stationary orbit.
5. Bhaskara - 2
6. INSAT - 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 3E (Indian National Satellite). Indian National Satellite System is a joint venture of Department of Space, Department of Telecommunications, Indian Meteoro-logical Department and All India Radio and Doordarshan.
7. SROSS - A, B, C and D (Stretched Rohini Satellite Series)
8. IRS - 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, P2, P3, P4, P5, P6 (Indian Remote Sensing Satellite)
Data from IRS is used for various applications like drought monitoring, flood damage assessment, flood risk zone mapping, urban planning, mineral prospecting, forest survey etc.
9. METSAT (Kalpana - I) - METSAT is the first exclusive meteorological satellite.
10. GSAT-1, GSAT-2 (Geo-stationary Satellites)
Indian Launch Vehicles (Rockets)
1. SLV - 3 - This was India's first experimental Satellite Launch Vehicle. SLV - 3 was a 22 m long, four stage vehicle weighing 17 tonne. All its stages used solid propellant.
2. ASLV - Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle. It was a five stage solid propellant vehicle, weighing about 40 tonnes and of about 23.8 m long.
3. PSLV - The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle has four stages using solid and liquid propellant systems alternately. It is 44.4 m tall weighing about 294 tonnes.
4. GSLV - The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle is a 49 m tall, three stage vehicle weighing about 414 tonnes capable of placing satellite of 1800 kg.
India's first mission to moon
ISRO has a plan to send an unmanned spacecraft to moon in the year 2008. The spacecraft is named as CHANDRAYAAN-1. This programme will be much useful in expanding scientific knowledge about the moon, upgrading India's technological capability and providing challenging opportunities for planetory research for the younger generation. This journey to moon will take 5½ days.
CHANDRAYAAN - 1 will probe the moon by orbiting it at the lunar orbit of altitude 100 km. This mission to moon will be carried by PSLV rocket.