From sounding rockets to moon, ISRO comes a long way

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Sriharikota, Oct 22 (UNI) From humble beginnings of testing sounding rockets to acquiring capability to launch multiple satellites on a single mission and entering the lunar surface that catapulted India into the elite group, the Indian Space Programme had come of age.

The launch of Chandrayaan-I by PSLV-C11 marked yet another first in the chequered history of the ISRO which has seen several ups and downs over the last four and a half decades, including the failure of GSLV-F02 mission in July 2006.

The unique feature was that it is for the first time India has forayed into an hitherto unknown destination -- the Moon.

Following are the important milestones in the Indian Space Programme : 1962: Indian National Committee for Space Research formed. Work on Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) began.

1963: First sounding rocket launched from TERLS on November 21.

1965: Space Science and Technology Centre established in Thumba.

1967: Satellite Communiation Earth Station set up in Ahmedabad.

1968: TERLS dedicated to the United Nations on February two.

1969: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) formed on August 15.

1972: Space Commission and Department of Space set up on June one and air-borne remote sensing experiments commenced.

1975: First Indian Satellite, Aryabhatta, placed in orbit on April 19 by Cosmos Rocket from Russian Cosmodrome at Baikanour.

Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE) began.

1977: Satellite Telecom Experiments Project (STEP) undertaken.

1979: Experimental Satellite for earth observations Bhaskara-1 placed in orbit by Cosmos rocket from Russian Cosmodrome on June seven.

First experimental launch of SLV-3 from Sriharikota range (SHAR) on August ten partially failed.

1980: Second Experimental Launch of SLV-3 from SHAR on July 18 placed Rohini Satellite RS-D1 in orbit.

1981: First Developmental flight SLV-3 from SHAR placed RS-D1 Satellite in orbit on June 19.

Apple (Ariane Passenger Payload Experiment), an experimental Geostationary Communication Satellite, placed in orbit by Ariane rocket from Kourou in French Guyana on June 19.

Bhaskara-2 placed in orbit by Cosmos Rocket from Russian Cosmodrome on November 20.

1982: INSAT-1A placed in orbit by the United States' delta rocket on April 10. Deactivated five months later.

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