With the setting up of Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR) in 1962, the space activities in the country were initiated. In the same year, the work on Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) near Thiruvananthapuram was also started. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) was established in August 1969. The Government of India constituted the Space Commission and established the Department of Space (DOS) in June 1972 and brought ISRO under DOS in September 1972.
The Department of Space (DOS) has the primary objective of promoting development and application of space science and technology to assist in all-round development of the nation. Towards this, DOS has evolved the following programmes:
The Space Commission formulates the policies and oversees the implementation of the Indian space programme to promote the development and application of space science and technology for the socio-economic benefit of the country. DOS implements these programmes mainly through:
The Antrix Corporation, established in 1992 as a government owned company, markets the space products and services.
The establishment of space systems and their applications are coordinated by the national level committees, namely:
U. R. Rao Satellite Centre (URSC), Bengaluru
During the 70's and the 80's U. R. Rao Satellite Centre (URSC), the lead centre of ISRO was engaged in mastering the basic technologies and skills required for the specialized task of satellite building. Since the early 90's a host of contemporary and advanced communication, meteorological, remote sensing, navigation and space science were built and launched. The communication, meteorological, remote sensing and navigation satellites launched by URSC have continued to serve the key sectors of the Indian economy like communication, agriculture, water resources, urban planning, Land use, Fisheries, Oceanography, Weather forecasting, Disaster management, Search and Rescue and Navigation. The space science missions like Chandrayaan-1, Mars Orbiter Mission and Astrosat have received World Wide acclaim and put India in the global map while at the same time inspiring the Gen next.
More than 100 state-of-the-art satellites built over four decades by URSC, the abode of Indian satellites, stand testimony to the technical excellence the centre has scaled. With about 2500 highly trained and skilled manpower, URSC today is home to a host of advanced, cutting edge satellite technologies that feeds into the Indian Space Programme. The centre also houses ultra modern design, development, fabrication and testing facilities for satellites.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Bengaluru
India decided to go to space when Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR) was set up by the Government of India in 1962. With the visionary Dr. Vikram Sarabhai at its helm, INCOSPAR set up the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) in Thiruvananthapuram for upper atmospheric research.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), formed in 1969, superseded the erstwhile INCOSPAR. Vikram Sarabhai, having identified the role and importance of space technology in a Nation's development, provided ISRO the necessary direction to function as an agent of development. ISRO then embarked on its mission to provide the Nation space based services and to develop the technologies to achieve the same independently.
National Atmospheric Research Laboratory (NARL), Tirupati
National Atmospheric Research Laboratory (NARL) is an autonomous research laboratory fully funded by the Department of Space, Government of India and involved in carrying out fundamental and applied research in Atmospheric and Space Sciences. It had its humble beginning in 1992 as the National Mesosphere-Stratosphere-Troposphere (MST) Radar Facility. Over the years several complementary techniques such as Rayleigh/Mie lidars, wind profilers have been added.
North Eastern Space Applications Centre (NESAC), Shillong
The North Eastern Space Applications Centre (NESAC), a joint initiative of Department of Space (DOS) and the North Eastern Council (NEC) is a society registered under the Meghalaya Societies Registration Act, 1983. The Centre has provided more than 20 years of dedicated service to the eight states of North Eastern Region (NER) of India using space science and technology.
Semi-Conductor Laboratory (SCL), Mohali
Semi-Conductor Laboratory (SCL), an autonomous body under Department of Space, Government of India, is engaged in Research & Development in the area of Microelectronics to meet the strategic needs of the country.
Formerly known as Semiconductor Complex Limited, a Government of India Enterprise, which was converted into Semi-Conductor Laboratory under Department of Space, Government of India w.e.f. September 1, 2006. SCL has integrated facilities / supporting infrastructure all under one roof and undertakes activities focused on Design, Development, Fabrication, Assembly & Packaging, Testing and Quality Assurance of CMOS and MEMS Devices for various applications. SCL is also engaged in Fabrication of Hi-Rel Boards, Radio Sonde Systems and indigenisation of electronic sub systems.
Space Physics Laboratory (SPL), Mohali
The Space Physics Laboratory (SPL) at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) carries out research and studies in atmospheric science and other related space science activities. Ammonium Perchlorate Experimental Plant (APEP) at Aluva in Kerala and the ISRO Inertial Systems Unit (IISU) at Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala also form part of VSSC.
Indian Centre for Space Physics (ICSP), Kolkata
Indian Centre for Space Physics (ICSP) is a premiere Research Institute dedicated to carry out research in various challenging branches of Astronomy, Astrophysics and Space Science. It is a Government aided institution, but majority of the research fund comes from projects from National and International funding agencies. Major projects are from ISRO and DST. CSIR (NET) scholars can also directly carry out Ph.D. programme here. It is an autonomous body, recognized by the Calcutta University.
Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (IIRS), Dehradun
Formerly known as Indian Photo-interpretation Institute (IPI), the Institute was founded on 21st April 1966 under the aegis of Survey of India (SOI). It was established with the collaboration of the Government of The Netherlands on the pattern of Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) of the University of Twente, formerly known as International Institute for Aerospace Survey and Earth Sciences, The Netherlands. The original idea of setting the Institute came from India's first Prime Minister Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru during his visit to The Netherlands in 1957.
The Institute's building at Kalidas Road, Dehradun was inaugurated on 27th May 1972. Since its founding, the Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (IIRS) has been playing a key role in capacity building in remote sensing and geoinformatics technology and their applications for the benefit of the user community from India and abroad.
Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST), Thiruvananthapuram
Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST), situated at Thiruvananthapuram is a Deemed to be University under Section 3 of the UGC Act 1956. IIST functions as an autonomous body under the Department of Space, Government of India. The idea of such an institute was mooted keeping in mind the need for high quality manpower for the Indian Space Research Organization, one of world’s leading scientific organizations engaged in space research and space applications. The institute is the first of its kind in the country, to offer high quality education at the undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and post-doctoral levels on areas with special focus to space sciences, space technology and space applications. IIST was formally inaugurated on 14th September 2007 by Dr. G. Madhavan Nair, the then Chairman, ISRO and was temporarily housed in the premises of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, very close from where ISRO built and launched its first rocket. Both the founding fathers of the institute, Dr. G. Madhavan Nair and Dr. B.N. Suresh, the latter being the first Director of IIST, played a very important role in the formation of the institute, facilitating its establishment and contributing to its vision. Dr. B.N. Suresh piloted the institute from the conception of the idea to its realization in a permanent campus near Thiruvananthapuram in 2010.
Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad
Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), founded in 1947 by Dr. Vikram A. Sarabhai, is a premier scientific institution under the Department of Space, Government of India. The laboratory started with its focus on research areas of Astronomy and Cosmic Rays. In course of time, several new disciplines were added to its research theme. The current research activities of PRL are truly of multi-disciplinary nature at the cutting edge of science. These include Astronomy and Astrophysics, Space and Atmospheric Sciences, Solar Physics, Geosciences, Planetary Science, Atomic, Molecular & Optical Physics, Theoretical Physics & Cosmology.
PRL currently has four campuses: the main campus at Navrangpura, Ahmedabad, with several world-class experimental and computing facilities; many leading laboratories in Thaltej campus, Ahmedabad; Optical and Infrared Observatory at Mount Abu, and Udaipur Solar Observatory at Udaipur.
Source: Department of Space (DOS)