essay on isro for upsc
Introduction to ISRO
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is considered to be one of the most promising space research organizations in the world today, mainly due to its excellent track record of being able to produce results under challenging circumstances and limited resources. The vision of ISRO is to utilize space technology for various sectors of national development and also purse space science research.
ISRO made history in 2017, with the launch of PSLV- C37and successfully launched 104 satellites on a single rocket from the spaceport in Sriharikota. Out of these 104, 101 satellites were from international customers; hence, ISRO made headlines worldwide with its successful launch and earned a place among the world’s top-ranked space research organizations.
In the year of 1969, the Indian Space Research Organisation was formed. It was the end result of the vision and tremendous hard work of various Indian scientists, namely Vikram Sarabhai and Homi Bhabha. Considering the importance of space technology in the Nation’s development, ISRO found its direction to act as an agent of development rather than competing with the developed nations. This is what differentiated ISRO from the rest of the world. It embarked on its mission, with the intention of providing the Nation space-based services and developing the technologies to establish the same independently.
The background and objectives of ISRO
Modern space research in India began in the 1920s. The tremendous vision and consistent development work of Indian scientists such as – S. K. Mitra, C.V. Raman, Meghnad Saha laid the foundation of space research in India. Vikram Sarabhai – founder of the Physical Research Laboratory and Homi Bhabha – founder of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, built upon that later on.
India decided to go space with the establishment of the Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR) by the Government of India in 1962. And with the full support of Prime Minister Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru, the visionary Dr. Vikram Sarabhai was at its helm. Later in 1969, the foundation of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) supplanted the INCOSPAR. And its headquarters was in the city of Bengaluru.
The prime objective of ISRO is to use space technology and its application to various national tasks and work towards making the country capable of developing these technologies on its own. The Indian space program was driven by Vikram Sarabhai, who is considered the father of the Indian space programme.
Another individual, without whom ISRO may not be where it is today, is undoubtedly Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, who later went on to become the President of India as well. There he was made the project director of India’s first indigenous satellite launch vehicle (SLV-III), which successfully launched the Rohini satellite in 1980. His brilliance guided by Sarabhai’s vision lead ISRO to its early days of success. The premise for the Indian space research has always been challenging yet through sheer passion and will to persevere, today it’s considered to be India’s one of the most successful missions ever.
The mission and vision of ISRO
Even though the foundation of ISRO was built upon difficult circumstances throughout the year, the organization has upheld its mission of bringing the space to the service to the service of the Nation. Today, it’s one of the six largest space agencies in the world. It deals with some of the widest range of communication satellites (INSAT) and remote sensing satellites (IRS). Moreover, ISRO delivers and develops application-specific tools and products such as broadcasts, communications, weather forecasts, disaster management tools, navigation, telemedicine, etc. to name a few.
The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) was formed with the aim of achieving complete self-reliance in terms of these applications, which was essential to develop cost-efficient and reliable launch systems. Due to its cost efficiency and reliability, the famed PSLV became a preferred carrier for satellites of various countries. For more demanding and heavier geosynchronous communication satellites, the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) was developed.
Besides these, ISRO has contributed to science education in the Nation as well. Department of science supports several institutions and research centres dedicated to remote sensing, astronomy and astrophysics, atmospheric sciences, and space sciences in general. Furthermore, ISRO’s own Lunar and interplanetary missions, along with other scientific projects, promote science education and contribute to the scientific community.
As a result of perseverance, hard work, and vision of the ISRO members, the organization has had remarkable achievements over the past years. Some of them are –
- Aryabhata (1975): It was ISRO built India’s first satellite, named after the famous Indian mathematician-astronomer. Aryabhata was launched from Kapustin Yar, a Russian rocket launch and development site in Astrakhan Oblast, on 19 April 1975.
- Rohini (1980): It became India’s first satellite to be placed in the orbit.
- Indian National satellite system (1983): The Indian National Satellite System or INSAT was launched in 1983. It is a series of multipurpose geostationary satellites launched by ISRO for various broadcasting, telecommunications, meteorology, and search and rescue operations in India. It is also the largest domestic communication system in the Indo-Pacific region.
- Polar satellite launch vehicle (1993): The PSLV was developed and launched in 1993, to enable India to launch its Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellites into sun-synchronous orbits. PSLV is also capable of launching small size satellites into Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO). Noticeably Chandrayaan-1, India’s first lunar probe, Mangalyaan, which is India’s first interplanetary mission, and Astrosat, India’s first observatory, were all launched by PSLV.
- Chandrayan (2008): It was India’s first lunar probe launched by ISRO, in October 2008, and operated until August 2009. It was a landmark in India’s space mission and enlisted ISRO as one of the elite space organization in the world.
- Mangalyann (2014): The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), also known as Mangalyaan, launched on 5 November 2013 by ISRO. The project was aimed towards the red planet and collecting data on Mar’s atmosphere and mineral composition. The project marked ISRO’s immense perseverance and efficiency as its budget was at least ten times lower than a similar US project.
- Launching 20 satellites (2016): On 22 June 2016, IRSO successfully set a record by launching 20 satellites in a one go. Apart from ISRO satellites, it carried satellites built by Indian university students, but a large number of these satellites were from the USA, Canada, Germany, and Indonesia.
- 104 Satellites (2017): The PSLV-C37’s launch on 15 February 2017 marked perhaps the highest achievement in ISRO’s history, with the record launch of 104 satellites on a single rocket. This is recorded as the highest number of satellites launched ever in a single mission by any country in the world. This brought India pride, and ISRO made headlines throughout the world and marked itself as one of the most successful space research organizations in the world today.
ISRO is undoubtedly one of the most promising space research organizations in the world today. An organization started from scratch, and limited resource is now listed, compared amongst the most elite space research organizations in the world such as – NASA, SpaceX, China National Space Administration (CNSA), etc. ISRO has had a fair share of failures as well, but it was only through the dedication, persistence, and immense love for the Nation that ISRO has achieved this tremendous success. Since the beginning, the vision has not been competing, rather solving problems of the Nation, and that’s what fuels ISRO for its upcoming missions.
ISRO has scheduled its forthcoming plans for the next decade, which includes missions such as – Aditya-L1 mission, Gaganyaan mission, Mangalyaan-2, Chandrayaan-3, Shukrayaan mission to Venus, etc. Hence the organization has remarkable potential, and it’s moving towards the right direction to provide India with the best satellite services in the most cost-efficient way possible; we certainly hope that with Government’s higher investment in space research, this process will escalate at a faster pace.
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