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Indian Spacecraft

This section provides information about different types of Indian spacecraft and their applications.

Communication Satellites

Supports telecommunication, television broadcasting, satellite newsgathering, societal applications, weather forecasting, disaster warning and search and rescue operation services.

The Indian National Satellite (INSAT) system is one of the largest domestic communication satellite systems in the Asia-Pacific region with nine operational communication satellites placed in Geo-stationary orbit. Established in 1983 with the commissioning of INSAT-1B, it initiated a major revolution in India’s communications sector and sustained the same later. GSAT-17 joins the constellation of INSAT System consisting 15 operational satellites, namely - INSAT-3A, 3C, 4A, 4B, 4CR and GSAT-6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 15, 16 and 18.

The INSAT system with more than 200 transponders in the C, Extended C and Ku-bands provides services to telecommunications, television broadcasting, satellite newsgathering, societal applications, weather forecasting, disaster warning and Search and Rescue operations.

Earth Observation Satellites

The largest civilian remote sensing satellite constellation in the world - thematic series of satellites supporting a multitude of applications in the areas of land and water resources; cartography; and ocean and atmosphere.

Starting with IRS-1A in 1988, ISRO has launched many operational remote sensing satellites. Today, India has one of the largest constellations of remote sensing satellites in operation. Currently, thirteen operational satellites are in sun-synchronous orbit – RESOURCESAT-1, 2, 2A CARTOSAT-1, 2, 2A, 2B, RISAT-1 and 2, OCEANSAT-2, Megha-Tropiques, SARAL and SCATSAT-1, and four in geostationary orbit- INSAT-3D, Kalpana & INSAT 3A, INSAT -3DR.

Varieties of instruments have been flown onboard these satellites to provide necessary data in diversified spatial, spectral and temporal resolutions to cater to different user requirements in the country and for global usage. The data from these satellites are used for several applications covering agriculture, water resources, urban planning, rural development, mineral prospecting, environment, forestry, ocean resources and disaster management.

Scientific Spacecraft

Spacecraft for research in areas like astronomy, astrophysics, planetary and earth sciences, atmospheric sciences and theoretical physics.

Indian space programme encompasses research in areas like astronomy, astrophysics, planetary and earth sciences, atmospheric sciences and theoretical physics. Balloons, sounding rockets, space platforms and ground-based facilities support these research efforts. A series of sounding rockets are available for atmospheric experiments. Several scientific instruments have been flown on satellites especially to direct celestial X-ray and gamma-ray bursts.

AstroSat

AstroSat is the first dedicated Indian astronomy mission aimed at studying celestial sources in X-ray, optical and UV spectral bands simultaneously.

Mars Orbiter Mission

Mars Orbiter Mission is ISRO’s first interplanetary mission to planet Mars with an orbiter craft designed to orbit Mars in an elliptical orbit of 372 km by 80,000 km.

Chandrayaan-1

Chandrayaan-1, India's first mission to Moon, was launched successfully on 22nd October 2008 from SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota. The spacecraft was orbiting around the Moon at a height of 100 km from the lunar surface for chemical, mineralogical and photo-geologic mapping of the Moon. The spacecraft carried 11 scientific instruments built in India, USA, UK, Germany, Sweden and Bulgaria.

Chandrayaan-2

India’s second mission to the Moon, Chandrayaan-2 was launched on 22nd July 2019 from Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota. The Orbiter which was injected into a lunar orbit on 2nd Sept 2019, carries 8 experiments to address many open questions on lunar science. 

Navigation Satellites

Satellite Navigation service is an emerging satellite-based system with commercial and strategic applications. ISRO is committed to provide the satellite-based Navigation services to meet the emerging demands of the Civil Aviation requirements and to meet the user requirements of the positioning, navigation and timing based on the independent satellite navigation system. To meet the Civil Aviation requirements, ISRO is working jointly with the Airport Authority of India (AAI) in establishing the GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) system. To meet the user requirements of the positioning, navigation and timing services based on the indigenous system, ISRO is establishing a regional satellite navigation system called Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS).

Experimental Satellites

A host of small satellites mainly for experimental purposes. These experiments include Remote Sensing, Atmospheric Studies, Payload Development, Orbit Controls, Recovery Technology etc.

Small Satellites

The small satellite project is envisaged to provide platform for stand-alone payloads for earth imaging and science missions within a quick turnaround time. For making the versatile platform for different kinds of payloads, two kinds of buses have been configured and developed.

Indian Mini Satellite -1 (IMS-1)

IMS-1 bus has been developed as a versatile bus of 100 kg class which includes a payload capability of around 30 kg. The bus has been developed using various miniaturization techniques. The first mission of the IMS-1 series was launched successfully on 28th April 2008 as a co-passenger along with Cartosat 2A. Youthsat is second mission in this series and was launched successfully along with Resourcesat 2 on  20th April 2011.

Indian Mini Satellite -2 (IMS-2) Bus

IMS-2 Bus is evolved as a standard bus of 400 kg class which includes a payload capability of around 200 kg. IMS-2 development is an important milestone as it is envisaged to be a work horse for different types of remote sensing applications. The first mission of IMS-2 is SARAL.  SARAL is a co-operative mission between ISRO and CNES with payloads from CNES and spacecraft bus from ISRO.

Student Satellites

ISRO's Student Satellite programme is envisaged to encourage various Universities and Institutions for the development of Nano/Pico Satellites.

ISRO has influenced educational institutions by its activities like making satellites for communication, remote sensing and astronomy. The launch of Chandrayaan-1 increased the interest of universities and institutions towards making experimental student satellites. Capable Universities and institutions can venture into space technology on-orbit with guidance and support from ISRO in the following ways.

  • Development of Payload (by Universities/Institutions)
  • Satellite Design & Fabrication by Universities/Institutions

Source: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)

Last Modified : 7/7/2021



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