How India Became a Space Technology Giant


India recorded a major success on the 23rd of May, 2016, with the launch of a prototype space shuttle named the Reusable Launch Vehicle Technology Demonstrator. The craft climbed to a height of about 40 miles above the Earth’s surface before it descended into the Bay of Bengal. It was a great day for the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). Its officials explained the success with the autonomous navigation, reusable heat protection system, guidance, control, and re-entry mission management. 

ISRO is the country’s official space agency. The launch of the space vehicle catapulted India into the worldwide race to develop a reusable and affordable space shuttle, a part vital to the success of future space explorations. The flight was a significant milestone in India’s fast-growing space program, and it firmly secured its position as one of the global space exploration superpowers. 

The story of India’s exploits in space is directly intertwined with the ISRO, which is also called the Bharatiya Antriks Anusandhan Sangathan, the space agency that works under the Department of Space is coordinated directly by the Prime Minister of India. It started as the Indian National Committee for Space Research in 1962. It was expanded and was christened ISRO in 1969. 

The first satellite of India, Aryabhata, was built by ISRO and launched into space by the Soviet Union on the 19th of April 1975. The spacecraft was named for the legendary Indian astronomer and mathematician Aryabhata. Rohini emerged as the first satellite to be put in orbit in 1980 by a launch vehicle made in India. ISRO would later develop two other rockets: the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) and the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), and these were significant steps. 

An extraordinary leap for the ISRO came on the 22nd of October, 2008, when it sent its lunar orbiter named Chandrayaan-1, and it is known for discovering lunar water as ice. The greatest moment in history for the ISRO came on the 5th of November 2013 with the Mars Orbiter Mission. The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), also known as Mangalyaan, is a space probe in the orbit of Mars since the 24th of September, 2014. 

This achievement made India the first nation to succeed on its first attempt at Mars and make ISRO the first space agency in all of Asia to reach the orbit of Mars. It is also the first interplanetary mission of India, and it also made the ISRO the fourth space agency in the world to reach the Red Planet. 

Success continued on the 18th of June, 2016, when the ISRO launched twenty satellites in a single-vehicle. This was followed by a launch of 104 satellites in a single rocket by the same agency in February 2017, a significant world record in space technology. The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III was launched in June 2017, and it was the heaviest rocket ever undertaken by the agency. This launch meant that the Indian space agency had become capable of launching heavy satellites into the geostationary transfer orbit. 

The second lunar mission, called the Chandrayaan-2, was launched in July 2019, and its goal was to study the distribution of lunar water and lunar geology. ISRO is not stopping at this stage at all. It has perfected plans for future projects, and these include the concept and development of the Unified Launch Vehicle and the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle. Other plans include developing a reusable launch vehicle, a space station, human spaceflight, and interplanetary probes alongside a solar spacecraft mission. ISRO has an annual budget of almost $2 billion, and it is on an unstoppable path to stellar greatness. 

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