The history of India’s interests in space science is as early as 1960s when a Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR) was formed by the Department of Atomic Energy.
Subsequently the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) was set up to develop space technology and its application to various national tasks.
The development of India’s space technology and programme dates back to 1980 when it successfully launched its own satellite Rohini – 1 from Sriharikota Island. The nation then became the eighth country to prove that it could send a satellite to orbit above Earth.
Vikram Sarabhai and Satish Dhawan are considered as the pioneers behind India’s space exploration programme. Vikram Ambalal Sarabhai was the founder of ISRO and the father of India's space program.
He had envisioned for Indian satellites that could provide communications, meteorology, remote sensing, and direct-to-home television broadcasting.
He set up the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS), the first of its kind in India which began manufacturing sounding rockets in India.
He drew up plans to transmit education to remote villages across India with the Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE). The development has solved the country’s requirements in the field of remote sensing and communication.
Recently, India has concentrated much of its space development work on complex applications satellites and more powerful rockets.
The nation's two primary interests are satellites for remote sensing and communications – used for weather pictures, disaster warnings and feeds to 552 television and 164 radio stations on the ground.
ISRO is successful in establishing two major space systems, INSAT for communication, television broadcasting and meteorological services, and Indian Remote Sensing Satellites (IRS) system for resources monitoring and management.
ISRO has developed two satellite launch vehicles, PSLV and GSLV, to place INSAT and IRS satellites in the required orbits.
ISRO’s timeline of Space Programme are as follows:
The Indian National Committee for Space Research is formed under the leadership of Vikram Sarabhai who is also known as father of India's space program and physicist Kalpathi Ramakrishna Ramanathan.
The first sounding rocket is launched from Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station in Kerala which is used for probing upper atmospheric regions and space research. It marks the beginning of the Indian space program.
Space Science and Technology Centre (SSTC) was established in Thumba on 1 Jan, 1965.
Satellite Telecommunication Earth Station set up at Ahmedabad on 1 Jan 1967
Experimental Satellite Communication Earth Station set up in Ahmedabad, Gujarat
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) was formed to harness space technology for national development.
Satish Dhawan Space Centre formed in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.
Department of Space (DoS) established and ISRO brought under it.
On 19 April, first Indian Satellite, Aryabhata was launched into space. It marked a milestone in India's space programme because it was completely designed in the country and launched from a Russian facility.
Satellite Telecommunication Experiments Project
The first experimental remote-sensing satellite which was built in India was launched namely Bhaskara-I. The images send by it are used to study hydrology and forestry and oceanographic studies.
India's first experimental satellite vehicle was launched namely Satellite launch Vehicle-3 (SLV-3) which makes ISRO sixth nation in space program. SLV-3 launched second time with Rohini. The mission was successful.
Rohini placed into orbit.
Communication Satellite Insat-1A was launched
Second developmental flight of SLV-3 placed Rohini into orbit.
A joint manned mission of India and Soviet Union has been launched. In this mission the first Indian cosmonaut, Rakesh Sharma, spends eight days in Russian space station Salyut 7.
ASLV was launched with SROSS-1 satellite.
Indian Remote Sensing Satellite IRA-1A was launched
Remote Sensing satellite IRS-1B was launched
ASLV first time was successfully launched
Developed in 1990s and has become the Indian space mission's most reliable workhorse. In 1993, PSLV carried out its first mission and its first successful mission was held in next year. No doubt for next 20 years, it launched several satellites for historic missions like Chandrayaan and Mangalyaan.
Successful launch of PSLV with IRS-P2
PSLV was launched with IRS-P3
PSLV was launched with IRS-1D
PSLV started carrying foreign satellites
GSLV was successfully launched
Kalpana-1 satellite was launched
GSat-2 was launched
Edusat was launched
Launch of Cartosat-1 and Hamsat by PSLV
GSLV was launched with Insat-4C
Cartosat-2 was launched
India's Chandrayaan-1 first moon mission was launched by PSLV. Almost a decade ago, India's first unmanned lunar probe was launched and was a landmark in India's space mission. Do you know that after this ISRO joined an elite list of just six space organisations to send an Orbiter to the moon? A Tricolour was hosted on the moon but ISRO lost contact with Chandrayaan-1 soon after.
Radar Imaging Satellite (Risat-2) was launched
Launch of Cartosat-2B, STUDSAT and three small foreign satellites by PSLV
Launch of Resourcesat-2 and two small satellites by PSLV
Risat-1 was launched by PSLV
- PSLV-C22 was successfully launched with India's first indigenous Regional Navigation Satellite IRNSS-1A on 1st July, 2013. - PSLV-C25/Mars Orbiter Mission was launched in 5 November, 2013
- GSLV-D5 was successfully launched on 5 January, 2014. - India's first interplanetary mission to the planet Mars known as Mars Orbiter mission (MOM) or Mangalyaan was launched. On 24 September, 2014, MOM entered Mars orbit. India became the first country in the world to insert a spacecraft into the Martian orbit in its very first attempt. - On 18 December, 2014, GSLV Mk-III, the first experimental flight of ISRO's heaviest and upgraded rocket vehicle was launched from Sriharikota.
- India's 4th navigation satellite was launched. - 100 days of Mangalyaan. - 5 British satellites are launched by ISRO. - On 28 September, 2015, India's first dedicated multi-wavelength space observatory Astrosat was successfully launched onboard a PSLV-C30 rocket. - On 11 November, 2015, latest communication satellite of India GSAT-15 was successfully launched by Ariane-5 rocket from the spaceport of Kourou in French Guiana. - On 16 December, 2015, PSLV-C29, in its 32 flight, launched six satellites of Singapore. Of these six satellites, TeLEOS-1 is the primary satellite whereas the other five are co-passenger satellites.
- On 20 January, 2016 PSLV-C31 in its 33rd flight launches IRNSS-1E, the fifth satellite of the Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS). - On 10 March, 2016, PSLV-C32 in its 34rth flight, launches IRNSS-1F, the sixth satellite of the Indian regional navigational Satellite System (IRNSS).This is the thirty third consecutively successful mission of PSLV. - On 28 April, 2016, PSLV-C33 in its 35th flight, launches IRNSS-1G, the seventh satellite of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) to a Sub-Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (Sub-GTO). - On 23 May, 2016, RLV-TD was successfully flight tested. - On 22 June, 2016, PSLV-C34, in its 36 flight launches the 727.5 kg Cartosat-2 Series Satellite for earth observation and 19 co-passenger satellites together weighing about 560 kg at lift-off into a 505 km polar Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO). - On 28 August, 2016, The first experimental mission of ISRO’s Scramjet Engine towards the realisation of an Air Breathing Propulsion System was successfully conducted. - On 8 September, 2016, GSLV-F05 is the tenth flight of India's Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), launching INSAT-3DR, an advanced weather satellite, weighing 2211 kg into a Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO). - On 26 September, 2016, PSLV-C35, in its 37th flight, launches SCATSAT-1 for weather related studies and 7 co-passenger satellites into polar Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO). - On 6 October, 2016, India's latest communication satellite GSAT-18 was inducted into the INSAT/GSAT system.
On 15 February, 2017, ISRO successfully launched 104 satellites using a single rocket from Sriharikota Space Centre. On 5 May, 2017, GSLV successfully launches South Asia Satellite. - On 5 June, 2017, First developmental flight of India's GSLV Mk III successfully launches GSAT-19 Satellites. - On 23 June, 2017, PSLV-C38 successfully launches 31 Satellites in a single flight. - On 29 June, 2017, India's GSAT-17 Communication Satellite launches successfully. - On 31 August, 2017, PSLV-C39 flight carrying IRNSS-1H Navigation Satellite unsuccessful.
- On 12 January, 2018 PSLV successfully launches 31 Satellites in a single flight. - On 23 March, 2018 ISRO-BHEL tie up for the production of Space Grade Lithium-Ion Cells. - On 29 March, 2018 GSLV successfully launches GSAT-6A Satellite. - On 12 April, 2018 PSLV-C41 successfully launches IRNSS-11 Navigation Satellite. - On 25 April, 2018 GSAT-11 launch rescheduled. - 22 June, 2018, discovery of a Sub-Saturn like Planet around a Sun-like star. - On 16 September, 2018 PSLV-C42 launches 2 foreign satellites. - On 14 November, 2018 GSLV MkIII-D2 successfully launches GSAT-29. - On 29 November, 2018 PSLV-C43 successfully launches HysIS and 30 customer satellites. - On 5 December, 2018, GSAT-11 India's heaviest communication satellite launched successfully from French Guiana. - On 19 December, 2018, GSLV-F11 successfully launches GSAT-7A
- On 25 January, 2019, PSLV-C44 successfully launched Microsat-R and Kalamsat-V2. - On 6 February, 2019 GSAT-31 India's Communication Satellite launched successfully from French Guiana. - On 1 April, 2019 PSLV-C45 successfully launches EMISAT and 28 customer satellites. - On 22 May, 2019 PSLV-C46 successfully launches RISAT-2B - On 15 July, 2019 Chandrayaan-2 Moon Mission will be launched.