ISRO today added one more feather to its cap as it launched a record 20 satellites in their orbits at one shot. This launch was carried on in 26 minutes from Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.
The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C-34 carried 17 small satellites from Canada, Indonesia, Germany and the US. This was done by ISRO at 10 times lesser cost than other space agencies do.
ISRO till date by launching 57 foreign satellites has earned around $100 million.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) was formally formed in 1969 with a vision to harness space technology for national development, while pursuing space science research and planetary exploration.
ISRO actually institutionalised space activities in India as it superseded the erstwhile Indian National Committee for Space Research which was formed in 1962 thanks to the efforts of Jawaharlal Nehru and Vikram Sarabhai.
From 1969 till date, under the Department of Space which reports to the Prime Minister, ISRO has come a long way in inking the name of India on the pages of space research.
It has been adding more feathers to its cap with each passing year and has achieved some milestones that can be considered landmark for space agency of a developing nation.
Unique about ISRO:
ISRO has carried out 76 spacecraft missions, 46 launch missions.
It has launched 111 satellites using indigenously developed launch vehicles out of which 57 are foreign.
ISRO has launched 29 Indian satellites by foreign launch vehicles too.
In 2008 India launched as many as 11 satellites, including nine from other countries and went on to become the first nation to launch 10 satellites on one rocket.
ISRO has successfully put into operation two major satellite systems: Indian National Satellites (INSAT) for communication services and Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellites for management of natural resources.
During October 2015 ISRO had agreed to launch 23 foreign satellites from nine different countries which are: Algeria, Canada, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore and the US.
ISRO's mega achievements:
1. First satellite Aryabhata made by ISRO was launched on 19th of April 1975 by the then Soviet Union.
2. The first satellite to be placed in orbit by an India made launch vehicle was Rohini. It was launched in 1980 by SLV-3.
3. Developed two rockets Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV). PSLV is to launch satellites into polar orbits and GSLV is to place satellites in geostationary orbits. These two rockets have from then on launched numerous communication satellites and earth observation satellites.
4. Satellite navigation systems like GAGAN and IRNSS have been deployed by ISRO.
5. January 2014 marked an important milestone in the journey of ISRO as it successfully used an indigenous cryogenic engine in a GSLV-D5 launch of the GSAT-14.
6. ISRO on the 22nd of October 2008 sent one lunar orbiter, Chandrayaan-1.
7. On the 24th September 2014 ISRO launched Mars orbiter. Mars Orbiter Mission, which successfully entered Mars orbit made India the first nation to succeed on its first attempt to launch a Mars Orbiter. ISRO became the fourth space agency in the world as well as the first space agency in Asia to successfully reach Mars orbit.
Vikram Sarabhai on ISRO:
Vikram Sarabhai whose vision drove the Indian Space programme and who is also considered father of the Indian Space programme had this to said about ISRO in 1969 when it was form:
"There are some who question the relevance of space activities in a developing nation. To us, there is no ambiguity of purpose. We do not have the fantasy of competing with the economically advanced nations in the exploration of the Moon or the planets or manned space-flight. But we are convinced that if we are to play a meaningful role nationally, and in the community of nations, we must be second to none in the application of advanced technologies to the real problems of man and society."
A P J Abdul Kalam on ISRO:
Former president and scientist A P J Abdul Kalam, who had worked for four decades as a scientist and science administrator, had this to say about ISRO:
"Many individuals with myopic vision questioned the relevance of space activities in a newly independent nation, which was finding it difficult to feed its population. Their vision was clear if Indians were to play meaningful role in the community of nations, they must be second to none in the application of advanced technologies to their real-life problems. They had no intention of using it as a means of displaying our might."