10 Interesting Facts About Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO): The Indian Space Research Organisation, also known as ISRO is India’s national space agency and it is operated by the Department of space overseen by prime minister Narendra Modi himself. ISRO is the main agency to perform all the space activities in India and known for its cost-effectiveness.
1. Formation of ISRO
2. First Satelite By ISRO
India’s first satellite developed by ISRO was Aryabhata named after the famous astronomer and mathematician. The satellite was launched on 19th April 1975 from Kapustin Yar, Astrakhan Oblast, Russia using the Kosmos-3M launch vehicle.
The main objective of the satellite was to conduct experiments in X-ray astronomy, studying the upper atmosphere, and solar physics. [Source]
3. First Launch Vehicle of ISRO
Satellite Launch Vehicle-3 (SLV-3) was India’s first launch vehicle (Rocket) developed by ISRO. The first flight was in August 1979 but was unsuccessful. The first successful launch was on 18 July 1980.
SLV-3 rocket was a four-stage vehicle weighing around 17 tonnes with a height of 22m and competent in placing 40 kilograms of class payloads in Low Earth Orbit. [Source]
4. Budget of ISRO
In the year 2021, ISRO’s budget is around $2 billion compared to $22 billion of NASA and $11 billion of CNSA (China National Space Administration). ISRO is ranked number 7 in the world in terms of the annual budget. Despite the lower budget, ISRO is doing a commendable job with quite impressive missions. [Source]
5. Record Number of Satellites
ISRO is the first space agency to carry 100+ satellites in the orbit. On February 15, 2017, ISRO successfully launches and deploy 104 satellites in sun-synchronous orbits. ISRO used the PSLV-C37 launch vehicle to carry out this mission. It was a record until Falcon 9 rocket carried 143 satellites into orbit on 24 January 2021. [Source]
6. Mars Orbiter Mission – First Interplanetary Mission By ISRO
Mars Orbiter Mission, also known as Maangalyaan is ISRO and India’s first interplanetary mission carried out using PSLV-XL C25 rocket from the first launchpad Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, Andhrapradesh.
The mission was launched on 5 November 2013 and on 24 September 2014 ISRO successfully inserted the orbiter into Mars orbit. It took 298 for the successful Orbital insertion. The overall cost of the mission was just $74 million, which is quite impressive.
ISRO is the fourth space agency to orbit Mars and the first space agency to complete on 1st attempt. Its mission objective was to study morphology, topography, and mineralogy, Martian upper atmosphere, effects of solar wind and radiation, etc. [Source]
7. Chandrayaan 1 & 2
Chandrayaan 1 was the first lunar probe by ISRO, launched on 22 October 2008 and successfully inserted into lunar orbit on 8 November 2008. The mission carried an orbiter with some scientific instruments.
The mission was launched using a PSLV-XL C11 rocket from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota. This mission played an important role in the discovery of water on the lunar surface.
While Chandrayaan 2 was the second lunar mission by ISRO comprised of a Lunar orbiter, lander, rover to explore the moon’s south polar region. The mission was carried out using a GSLV Mark III M1 rocket and launched on 22 July 2019.
The mission was to explore the south polar region of the moon but sadly on 6 September 2019, the lander during its landing stage diverged from its intended trajectory and crashed.
8. First Manned-Mission Gaganyaan
ISRO is planning to launch its first manned mission to space, named Gaganyaan. The mission was originally planned to launch on December 2021 but delayed to not earlier than 2023. To prepare for this mission, ISRO is setting up an astronaut training center in Bangalore.
9. India’s Navigation System – NAVIC
Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System, also known as NavIC, an independent local navigation satellite system being developed by India. The system provides accurate position and navigation to users in India and can extend up to 1500 km from India’s boundary.
The project was developed and operated by ISRO and the constellation of the navigation system consists of 7 active satellites primarily used for commercial and military purposes. [Source]
10. Future Projects
ISRO is planning to launch various Earth observation satellites in the near future. The agency is also planning to launch a space station, and probes like Aditya-L1 to study the sun’s corona, Shukrayaan 1 to study Venus, Mangaalyaan 2 with a rover, and lander, etc.