Indian Space Research Organisation Isro Commerce Essay

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1. ISRO was established in1969 and it superseded the erstwhile Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR). It is under the administrative control of the Department of Space, Government of India.

2. ISRO has numerous milestones to its credit since its establishment. India's first satellite, Aryabhata, was built by ISRO and launched by the Soviet Union in 1975. Rohini, was the first satellite to be placed in orbit by an Indian-made launch vehicle, SLV-3, was launched in 1980. ISRO subsequently developed two other launch vehicles: the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) for putting satellites into polar orbits and the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) for placing satellites into geostationary orbits. These rockets have launched numerous communications, earth observation satellites and other space missions for india. Chandrayaan-1, India's first mission to the Moon was successfully launched on a PLSV in 2008.

Satellite Launch Vehicle

4. India's launch vehicle program which started in the 1960's with the launch of sounding rockets from Thumba has come a long way. The various launch vehicles which have been part of the Indian space program are Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV), Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle (ASLV), Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV).

File:Indian carrier rockets.svg

Figure : Comparison of Indian carrier rockets. Left to right: SLV, ASLV, PSLV, GSLV, GSLV III.

5. Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV). The Satellite Launch Vehicle, usually known as SLV or SLV-3 was a 4-stage solid-fuel satellite launch vehicle. It was intended to reach a low earth orbit of 500 km and carry a payload weighing 40 kg. It was first launched in 1979 with two more launches in each subsequent year, and the final launch in 1983. Only two of its four test flights were successful. At present this launch vehicle is not in use.

6. Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle (ASLV). The Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle, usually known as ASLV was a 5-stage solid propellant rocket. It was capable of placing a mini satellites weighing150 kg into the LEO. The first launch test of ASLV was carried in 1987, and three other launches followed in 1988, 1992 and 1994, out of which only two were successful, it was decommissioned thereafter.

7. Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, usually known as PSLV, is the ISRO's workhorse. It is an expendable launch vehicle which allows India to launch its Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellites into sun synchronous polar orbits. PSLV can also launch small satellites into geostationary transfer orbit (GTO). The reliability of the PSLV is proven by the fact that it has launched 55 satellites / spacecrafts( 26 Indian and 29 Foreign Satellites) into various orbits so far. On 9 September 2012 the PSLV flew its 21th consecutive successful launch mission. Its only failure in its 22 flights was its maiden voyage in September 1993, providing the rocket with a 95 percent success rate.

8. Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV). The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, usually known as GSLV, is capable of launching INSAT class satellites into geostationary orbit. At present, it is ISRO's heaviest satellite launch vehicle and is capable of putting a total payload of up to 5 tons in LEO. The vehicle is built by India while the cryogenic engine is purchased from Russia meanwhile ISRO is developing its own cryogenic engine. In a setback for ISRO, the latest attempt to launch the GSLV, GSLV-F06 carrying GSAT-5P, failed on 25 December 2010.

9. Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark-III (GSLV III). The Geo- synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark-III is a INSAT-4 class satellite launch vehicle currently under development at ISRO. It is intended to launch heavy satellites into geostationary orbit, and will allow India to become less dependent on foreign rockets for heavy lifting.

Satellite Systems

10. In the past four decades, ISRO has launched more than 65 satellites for various scientific and technological applications like mobile communications, Direct-to-Home (DTH) services, meteorological observations, telemedicine, tele-education, disaster warning, radio networking, search and rescue operations, remote sensing and scientific studies of the space.

11. ISRO has two major satellite systems, the Indian National Satellite System (INSAT) series for satellite communication, television broadcasting and meteorological services and is a Geo-Stationary Satellites, and the Indian Remote Sensing Satellites (IRS) system for resources monitoring and management, this is Earth Observation Satellites. ISRO has launched many experimental Satellites which are generally small as compared to INSAT or IRS and also a number of space missions to explore the space.

12. Geo Stationary Satellites. The Indian National Satellite (INSAT) system which is placed in Geo-stationary orbits is one of the largest domestic communication satellite systems in Asia-Pacific region. Established in 1983 with commissioning of INSAT-1B, it has initiated a major revolution in India's communications sector. The INSAT's space segment consists of 24 satellites out these 9 are in still in service (INSAT-3A, INSAT-4B, INSAT-3C, INSAT-3E, KALPANA-1, INSAT-4A, INSAT-4CR,GSAT-8 and GSAT-12). The system with a total of 168 transponders in the C, Extended C and Ku-bands provides services to telecommunications, television broadcasting, weather forecasting, disaster warning and Search and Rescue operations.

13. Earth observation Satellite. Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellite system was commissioned in 1988 with the launch of IRS-1A. With twelve satellites in operation, IRS is world's largest civilian remote sensing satellite constellation. The data is used for several applications covering agriculture, water resources management, urban development, environment, ocean resources, forestry, mineral prospecting, drought and flood forecasting and disaster management. All the satellites are placed in sun-synchronous polar orbit and provide data in a variety of spatial, spectral and temporal resolutions. The initial versions are composed of the 1 (A,B,C,D) nomenclature. The later versions are named based on their area of application including OceanSat, CartoSat, ResourceSat. Apart from the IRS series of satellites as mentioned above ISRO currently operates two Radar Imaging Satellites namely RISAT-1 and RISAT-2. RISAT-1 was launched from Sriharikota on 26 April 2012 on board a PSLV. RISAT-1 carries a C-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and can provide images with coarse, fine and high spatial resolutions. India also operates RISAT-2 which was launched in 2009 and acquired from Israel at a cost $110 million.

14. The table below lists the various satellites launched by India.


Launch Date

Launch Vehicle



19 April 1975

C-1 Intercosmos

Provided technological experience in building and operating a satellite system.


07 June 1979

C-1 Intercosmos

First experimental remote sensing satellite. Carried TV and microwave cameras.

Rohini Technology Payload

10 August 1979


Intended for measuring in-flight performance of first experimental flight of SLV-3, the first Indian launch vehicle. Did not achieve orbit.

Rohini RS-1

18 July 1980


Used for measuring in-flight performance of second experimental launch of SLV-3.

Rohini RS-D1

31 May 1981


Used for conducting some remote sensing technology studies using a landmark sensor payload.Launched by the first developmental launch of SLV-3.

Ariane Passenger Payload Experiment

19 June 1981

Ariane-1 (V-3)

First experimental communication satellite. Provided experience in building and operating a payload experiment three-axis stabilised communication satellite.


20 November 1981

C-1 Intercosmos

Second experimental remote sensing satellite; similar to Bhaskara-1. Provided experience in building and operating a remote sensing satellite system on an end-to-end basis.


10 April 1982

Delta 3910 PAM-D

First operational multipurpose communication and meteorology satellite. Procured from USA. Worked for only six months.

Rohini RS-D2

17 April 1983


Identical to RS-D1. Launched by the second developmental launch of SLV-3.


30 August 1983

Shuttle [PAM-D]

Identical to INSAT-1A. Served for more than design life of seven years.

Stretched Rohini Satellite Series(SROSS-1)

24 March 1987


Carried payload for launch vehicle performance monitoring and for gamma ray astronomy. Did not achieve orbit.


17 March 1988


Earth observation satellite. First operational remote sensing satellite.

Stretched Rohini Satellite Series(SROSS-2)

13 July 1988


Carried remote sensing payload of German space agency in addition to Gamma Ray astronomy payload. Did not achieve orbit.


21 July 1988


Same as INSAT-1A. Served for only one-and-a-half years.


12 June 1990

Delta 4925

Identical to INSAT-1A. Still in service.


29 August 1991


Earth observation satellite. Improved version of IRS-1A.


26 February 1992

Ariane-44L H10

Launched as Arabsat 1C. Procured in orbit from Arabsat in January 1998.

Stretched Rohini Satellite Series(SROSS-C)

20 May 1992


Carried gamma ray astronomy and aeronomy payload.


10 July 1992

Ariane-44L H10

First satellite in the second-generation Indian-built INSAT-2 series. Has enhanced capability over INSAT-1 series. Still in service.


23 July 1993

Ariane-44L H10+

Second satellite in INSAT-2 series. Identical to INSAT-2A. Still in service.


20 September 1993


Earth observation satellite. Did not achieve orbit.

Stretched Rohini Satellite Series(SROSS-C2)

04 May 1994


Identical to SROSS-C. Still in service.


15 October 1994


Earth observation satellite. Launched by second developmental flight of PSLV.


07 December 1995

Ariane-44L H10-3

Has additional capabilities such as mobile satellite service, business communication and television outreach beyond Indian boundaries. Still in service.


29 December 1995


Earth observation satellite. Launched from BaikonurCosmodrome.


21 March 1996


Earth observation satellite. Carries remote sensing payload and an X-ray astronomy payload. Launched by third developmental flight of PSLV.


04 June 1997

Ariane-44L H10-3

Same as INSAT-2C. Inoperable since 1997-10-04 due to power bus anomaly.


29 September 1997


Earth observation satellite. Same as IRS-1C.


03 April 1999

Ariane-42P H10-3

Multipurpose communication and meteorological satellite.


26 May 1999


Earth observation satellite. Carries an Ocean Colour Monitor (OCM) and a Multifrequency Scanning Microwave Radiometer (MSMR).


22 March 2000


Multipurpose communication: business communication, developmental communication, and mobile communication.


18 April 2001


Experimental satellite for the first developmental flight of Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, GSLV-D1.

Technology Experiment Satellite (TES)

22 October 2001


Experimental satellite to test technologies such as attitude and orbit control system, high-torque reaction wheels, new reaction control system, etc.


24 January 2002

Ariane-42L H10-3

Designed to augment the existing INSAT capacity for communication and broadcasting and provide continuity of the services of INSAT-2C.


12 September 2002


First meteorological satellite built by ISRO. Originally named METSAT. Renamed after KalpanaChawla who perished in theSpace Shuttle Columbia.


10 April 2003


Multipurpose satellite for communication, broadcasting, and meteorological services along with INSAT-2E and Kalpana-1.


08 May 2003


Experimental satellite for the second developmental test flight of Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV)


28 September 2003


Communication satellite to augment the existing INSAT System.


17 October 2003


Earth observation/remote sensing satellite. Intended to supplement and replace IRS-1C and IRS-1D.


20 October 2004


Also designated GSAT-3. India's first exclusive educational satellite.


05 May 2005


Microsatellite (42.5 kilograms) for providing satellite-based amateur radio services to the national as well as the international community.


05 May 2005


Earth observation satellite. Provides stereographic in-orbit images with a 2.5-meter resolution.


22 December 2005


Advanced satellite for direct-to-home television broadcasting services.


10 July 2006


Geosynchronous communications satellite. Did not achieve orbit.

Space Capsule Recovery Experiment(SRE-1)

10 January 2007


Experimental satellite intended to demonstrate the technology of an orbiting platform for performing experiments in microgravity conditions. Launched as a co-passenger with CARTOSAT-2. SRE-1 was de-orbited and recovered successfully after 12 days over Bay of Bengal.


10 January 2007


Advanced remote sensing satellite carrying a panchromatic camera capable of providing scene-specific spot images.


12 March 2007


Identical to INSAT-4A. Further augments the INSAT capacity for direct-to-home (DTH) television services and other communications. On the night of 7 July INSAT-4B experienced a power supply glitch which led to switching 'off' of 50 per cent of the transponder capacity (6 Ku and 6 C-Band transponders).


02 September 2007


Identical to INSAT-4C. It carried 12 high-power Ku-band transponders designed to provide direct-to-home (DTH) television services, Digital Satellite News Gathering etc.

IMS-1 (Third World Satellite - TWsat)

28 April 2008


Low-cost microsatellite imaging mission. Launched as co-passenger with CARTOSAT-2A.


28 April 2008


Earth observation/remote sensing satellite. Identical to CARTOSAT-2.


22 October 2008


Unmanned lunar probe. Carries 11 scientific instruments built in India, USA, UK, Germany, Sweden and Bulgaria.


20 April 2009


Research microsatellite designed at Anna University. Carries an amateur radio and technology demonstration experiments.


20 April 2009


Radar imaging satellite used to monitor India's borders and as part of anti-infiltration and anti-terrorist operations. Launched as a co-passenger with ANUSAT.

Oceansat-2 (IRS-P4)

23 September 2009


Gathers data for oceanographic, coastal and atmospheric applications. Continues mission of Oceansat-1.


15 April 2010


Communications satellite technology demonstrator. Failed to reach orbit due to GSLV-D3 failure.


12 July 2010


Earth observation/remote sensing satellite. Identical to CARTOSAT-2A.


25 December 2010


C-band communication satellite, failed to reach orbit due to GSLV-F06 failure.


20 April 2011


PSLV-C16 placed three satellites with a total payload mass of 1404 kg - RESOURCESAT-2 weighing 1206 kg, the Indo-Russian YOUTHSAT weighing 92 kg and Singapore's X-SAT weighing 106 kg - into an 822 km polar Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO).


21 May 2011


Communications satellite carries 24 Ku-band transponders and 2 channel GAGAN payload operating in L1 and L5 band.


15 July 2011


GSAT-12 communication satellite built by ISRO, weighs about 1410 kg at lift-off. GSAT-12 is configured to carry 12 Extended C-band transponders to meet the country's growing demand for transponders in a short turn-around-time.The 12 Extended C-band transponders of GSAT-12 will augment the capacity in the INSAT system for various communication services like Tele-education, Telemedicine and for Village Resource Centres (VRC).Mission life About 8 Years.


12 October 2011


Megha-Tropiques weighs about 1000kg Lift-off Mass, developed jointly by ISRO and the French Centre National d'ÉtudesSpatiales (CNES). PSLV-C18 is configured to carry four satellites in which, one satellite, developed by India and France, will track the weather, two were developed by educational institutions, and the fourth is from Luxembourg.


26 April 2012


RISAT-1, first indigenous all-weather Radar Imaging Satellite (RISAT-1), whose images will facilitate agriculture and disaster management weighs about 1858kg.


29 September 2012


GSAT-10, India's advanced communication satellite, is a high power satellite being inducted into the INSAT system. Weighing 3400 kg at lift-off.

Ground Facilities

15. India has a well established infrastructure for executing its space programme. This includes facilities for the development of satellites, launch vehicles and their testing, launch infrastructure for sounding rockets and satellite launch vehicles, telemetry, tracking and command network, data reception and processing systems for remote sensing. The table below shows a list of ISRO's various Tracking and Control Facilities.




Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN)


This network receives, processes, archives and distributes the spacecraft health data and payload data in real time. It can track and monitor satellites up to very large distances, even beyond the Moon.

National Remote Sensing Centre


The NRSC applies remote sensing to manage natural resources and study aerial surveying.[37] With centresatBalanagar and Shadnagar it also has training facilities at Dehradun in form of the Indian Institute of Remote Sensing.[37]

Indian Space Research Organisation Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network

Bangalore (headquarters) and a number of ground stations throughout India and World.[38]

Software development, ground operations, Tracking Telemetry and Command (TTC), and support is provided by this institution.[37] ISTRAC has Tracking stations throughout the country and all over the world in Port Louis (Mauritius), Bearslake (Russia), Biak (Indonesia) and Brunei.

Master Control Facility

Hassan; Karnataka

Geostationary satellite orbit raising, payload testing, and in-orbit operations are performed at this facility.[40] The MCF has earth stations and Satellite Control Centre (SCC) for controlling satellites.[40] A second MCF-like facility named 'MCF-B' is being constructed at Bhopal.[40]


16. ISRO future projects include launch of a number of new-generation Earth Observation Satellites, development of new launch vehicles and unmanned missions to Mars and Near-Earth Objects. ISRO has planned 58 missions during 2012-17; 33 satellites missions in next two years and 25 launch vehicles missions thereafter, costing 20,000 crore (US$4 billion).

Forthcoming Satellites

17. INSAT - 3D. INSAT-3D, is an exclusive meteorological satellite, it is configured with advanced meteorological payloads which include a 6 Channel Imager, 19 Channel Sounder along with Data Relay Transponder and Satellite Aided Search & Rescue payloads.

18. Satellite with ARGOS and ALTIKA (SARAL). The SARAL is a joint mission of ISRO - CNES (France), and will be launched in last quarter of 2012, by PSLV-C20 into a sun-synchronous orbit. ARGOS-3 is an element of the ARGOS system, dedicated to localisation, acquisition and distribution of environmental data. AltiKa is an innovating Ka-band altimeter system, dedicated to accurate measurement of ocean surface topography.

19. ASTROSAT. ASTROSAT is a national multi wavelength space borne astronomy observatory, which would enable simultaneous observations of the celestial bodies and cosmic sources in UV and X-ray spectral bands. The uniqueness of ASTROSAT lies in its wide spectral coverage extending over visible (3500-6000 Å), UV (1300-3000 Å), soft X and hard X ray regions (0.5-8 keV; 3-80 keV).

20. GSAT- 6. GSAT-6 satellite has five S-band beams to cover the Indian main land.

21. GSAT-7. GSAT-7 is a multi-band satellite carrying payloads in UHF, S-band, C-band and Ku-band. The satellite weighs 2330 kg with a payload power of 2000W. The configuration of the satellite has been finalised and the design of its payloads has been completed.

22. GSAT-9. GSAT-9 will carry 12 Ku band transponders with India coverage beam and a GAGAN payload. The satellite is planned to be launched in 2013-14 by GSLV.

23. GSAT-11. GSAT-11 consists of 16 spot beams covering entire country including Andaman & Nicobar Islands. The communication link to the user-end terminals operate in Ku-band while the link to the hub operates in Ka-band.

24. GSAT-14. GSAT-14 is intended to be a replacement of EDUSAT with 6 Ku and 6 Extended C band transponders providing India coverage beams. In addition, the spacecraft also carries Ka band beacons, which will be used to carry out studies related to rain and atmospheric effects on Ka band satellite communication links.

25. IRNSS-1. Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS)-1, the first of the seven satellites of the IRNSS constellation, will carry a Navigation payload and a C-band ranging transponder. The first satellite of IRNSS constellation is planned to be launched onboard PSLV in 2013 while the full constellation is planned to be realised by 2014.

Future Launch Vehicles

26. GSLV-Mk III. The GSLV Mk III is conceived and designed to make ISRO fully self reliant in launching heavier communication satellites of INSAT-4 class weighing 4500 to 5000 kg. The vehicle envisages multi orbit launch capability for GTO, LEO, Polar and intermediate circular orbits. GSLV Mk III is designed to be a three stage launch vehicle.

27. Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD). As a first step towards realizing a Two Stage To Orbit (TSTO) fully re-usable launch vehicle, a series of technology demonstration missions have been conceived. For this purpose a Winged Reusable Launch Vehicle technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) has been configured. The RLV-TD will act as a flying test bed to evaluate various technologies viz., hypersonic flight, autonomous landing, powered cruise flight and hypersonic flight using air breathing propulsion. First in the series of demonstration trials is the hypersonic flight experiment (HEX).

Human Space Flight Mission Programme

28. A study for undertaking human space flight to carry human beings to low earth orbit and ensure their safe return has been made by ISRO. Pre-project activities to study technical and managerial issues related to undertaking manned mission have been initiated. The programme envisages the development of a fully autonomous orbital vehicle carrying two or three crew members to low earth orbit and their safe return.

Space Science Missions

29. Space Capsule Recovery Experiment (SRE-II). The SRE II will provide a platform to conduct microgravity experiments in Micro-biology, Agriculture, Powder Metallurgy, etc.

30. Chandrayaan-2. Chandrayaan-2, India's second mission to the Moon, will have an Orbiter and Lander-Rover module. ISRO has the prime responsibility of developing the Orbiter and the Rover. Roskosmos of Russia is responsible for development of the Lander. Chandrayaan-2 will be launched on India's Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV - Mk III).

31. Aditya-1. Aditya-1 is India's first space based Solar Coronagraph to study solar Corona in visible and near IR bands. Launch of the Aditya mission is planned during the next high solar activity period (2012-13).

Satellite Navigation

32. GAGAN. The Ministry of Civil Aviation has decided to implement an indigenous Satellite-Based Regional GPS Augmentation System or a Space-Based Augmentation System (SBAS). It is known by the acronym GAGAN i.e. GPS Aided GEO Augmented Navigation system. A major milestone in the implementation of GAGAN was the conduct of PSAT (Preliminary System Acceptance Testing) which was completed successfully in Dec 2010. The first GAGAN navigation payload was flown on GSAT-8 which was launched in May, 2011 and the second on GSAT-10 launched in September 2012. The Navigation payload on GSAT-10 would provide improved accuracy of GPS signals (of better than 7 meters).


33. Satellite communication system remain incomplete without the ground satellite terminals. The ground terminals provide the last mile connectivity in a satellite communication network. Analysis of different ground satellite communication terminals in use with various militaries around the world would help in planning for our own system.

Fixed Satellite Ground Terminals

34. US is expected to induct a large number of ground terminals to meet the requirement of protected satellite communications of its armed forces. Portable, mobile, and fixed terminals with low, medium and high data rates will support ground units, aircrafts, ships and submarines. Various military SATCOM terminals include the following:-

(a) Family of Advanced Beyond line-of-sight Terminals (FAB-T).

(b) Single-Channel Antijam Man-Portable Terminal (SCAMP).

(c) Secure MobileAntijam Reliable Tactical Terminal (SMART-T)

(d) Submarine High Data Rate (Sub HDR) system.

35. The FAB-T is a combination of two previous programmes, the Airborne Wideband Terminal and the Command Post Terminal. The Ground Multiband Terminal is a tactical satellite communications ground terminal that would support operations in the X, C, Ku, and theKa bands. The US Army's Enhanced Manpack UHF Terminal is capable of being carried, set up, and can be used by a single soldier.

Mobile Satellite Ground Terminals

36. The Mobile User Objective System would use commercial technology to enable satellite communications. Commercial systems such as Thuraya in the Middle East and AceSin Southeast Asia have proved that as high as 10,000 low-data-rate handheldterminals can be serviced by a single satellite over a region.

Advanced Military SATCOM Production Terminal

37. Raytheon and the US Army successfully completed the testing of the first Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite communication production terminalsrecently. The Secure Mobile Anti-jam Reliable Tactical Terminal (SMART-T) offers the next generation of protected communications with AEHF satellites.

SATCOM Ground Terminals for Indian Defence Forces of Future

38. From the analysis of above ground terminals it is clear that in the future India's armed forces SATCOM terminals will have to cater for both fixed and mobile users. The problem is not so much for the fixed user as for these the technology already exists but for the mobile users the SATCOM terminals will have to be smaller, lighter and embedded with secrecy. The satellite terminal with secure communication features like that provided by US MILSTAR and its follow-on AEHF (V-band) is a necessity for our armed forces to operate in hostile Electronic Warfare environment.

39. Small Multi-Band and Multi-Mode capable terminals capable of using different band as also different modes(terrestrial and satellite) for communication would greatly enhance the tactical mobility and the survivability of the Indian defence forces to a great extent.

40. Indigenous Capability. India has very limited capability to design, develop and manufacture ground terminals for satellite communications. Depends on terminals ex-trade will have to be done away with and india will have to focus in this area keeping in mind the specific requirements of secrecy, anti-jamming, ruggedness and portability of the defence forces.