INDIAN SPACE PROGRAMME
Despite being a developing economy with its attendant problems, India has effectively developed space technology and has applied it successfully for its rapid development and today is offering a variety of space services globally. During the formative decade of 1960s, space research was conducted by India mainly with the help of sounding rockets. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) was formed in 1969. Space research activities were provided additional fillip with the formation of the Space Commission and the Department of Space by the government of India in 1972. And, ISRO was brought under the Department of Space in the same year. In the history of the Indian space programme, 70s were the era of Experimentation during which experimental satellite programmes like Aryabhatta, Bhaskara, Rohini and Apple were conducted. The success of those programme, led to era of operationalisation in 80s during which operational satellite programmes like INSAT and IRS came into being. Today, INSAT and IRS are the major programmes of ISRO.
The most significant milestone of the Indian Space Programme during the year 2005-2006 was the successful launch of PSLV-C6. On 5 May 2005, the ninth flight of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C6) from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota successfully placed two satellites - the 1560 kg CARTOSTAR-1 and 42kg HAMSAT - into a predetermined polar Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO). Coming after seven launch successes in a row, the success of PSLV-C6 further demonstrated the reliability of PSLV and its capability to place payloads weighing demonstrated the reliability of PSLV and its capability to place payloads weighing up to 1600 kg satellites into a 600 km high polar SSO.
The successful launch of INSAT-4A, the heaviest and most powerful satellite built by India so far, on 22 December 2005 was the other major event of the year 2005- 06. INSAT-4A is capable of providing Direct-To-Home (DTM) television broadcasting Services.)
INDIAN NATIONAL SATELLITE SYSTEM
The Indian National Satellite (INSAT) system is one of the largest domestic communication satellite systems in the Asia-Pacific region. In the 1980s, it initiated a major revolution in India's communications sector and sustained the same later. The satellites of INSAT system, which are in service today, are INSAT-2F, INSAT-3A, INSAT-3B, INSAT-3C, INSAT-3E, KALPANA-1, GSAT-2, EDUSAT and INSAT-4A, that was launched recently. The system provides a total of about 175 transponders in the C, Extended C and Ku-bands. Being a multipurpose satellite system, INSAT provides services to telecommunications, television broadcasting, weather forecasting, disaster warning and Search and Rescue fields.
INSAT system is also providing meteorological services through Very High Resolution Radiometer and CCD cameras on some of its spacecraft. This apart, cyclone monitoring through meteorological imaging and issue of warnings on impending cyclones through disaster warning receivers have been operationalised. For this, 350 receivers have been installed along the east and west coasts of India.
INDIAN REMOTE SENSING SATELLITE SYSTEM
India has the largest constellation of Remote Sensing Satellites, which are providing services both at the national and global levels. From the Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) Satellites, data is available in a variety of spatial resolutions staring from 360 metres and highest resolution being 2.5 metres. Besides, the state-of-the-art cameras of IRS spacecraft take the pictures of the Earth in several spectral bands. In future, ISRO intends to launch IRS spacecraft with better spatial resolution and capable of imaging day and night. The satellites of IRS system which are in service today are IRS-1C, IRS- ID, IRS-P3, OCEANSAT-1, Technology Experimental Satellite (TES), RESOURCESAT-1, and the recently launched CARTOSAT-1 capable of taking stereo pictures. The upcoming Remote Sensing Satellite are Cartosat-2, RISAT (Redar Imaging Satellite) and Oceansat-2.
After successfully testing the first indigenous launch vehicle SLV-3 in 1980, ISRO built the next generation Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle (ASLV). ISRO's Launch Vehicle Programme had a giant leap with the successful launch of IRS-P2 spacecraft onboard the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) in October 1994. On 18 April 2001, India successfully launched is Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV). Technology development for advanced launch vehicles made good progress with the breakthrough achieved during the year in Supersonic Combustion Ramjet (SCRAMJET) to be employed in Air-Breathing engine. This is an important element in the launch vehicle technology development. Concepts for reusable launch vehicle are also being studied.
POLAR SATELLITE LAUNCH VEHICLE
The four stage PSLV is capable of launching upto 1,600 kg satellites into a 620 km polar orbit. It has provision to launch payloads from 100 kg micro-satellites or mini or small satellites in different combinations. It can also launch one-two class payloads into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO). So far, it has performed nine missions with eight consecutive successes. The latest launch of PSLV (PSLV-C6) was on 5 May 2005 during which the vehicle precisely placed the 1560 kg CARTOSAT-1 and the 42 kg HAMSAT into a 620 km high polar SSO.
GEOSYNCHRONOUS SATELLITE LAUNCH VEHICLE
The GSLV was successful on its very first test flight. After its successful second flight on 8 May 2003, it was commissioned. This was followed by the success of its third flight on 20 September 2004. The GSLV is capable of launching 2,000 kg class satellites into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO). The development of Indigenous cryogenic stage to be used as the third stage of GSLV made further progress during the year. The cryogenic engine which forms part of this stage, has already been successfully qualified. GSLV-Mk III, a new version of GSLV and capable of launching spacecraft weighing upto 4 tonnes to GTO is under development.
An elaborate launch infrastructure exists at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota Island on the East Coast of India which is about 100 km from Chennai. Sriharikota is located at 13$dG North latitude. From here, satellites can be launched into a variety of orbital inclinations starting from 18$dG and extending upto 99$dG. Full-fledged facilities for satellite integration, assembly and launch exist there. Sriharikota also houses a Telemetry, Tracking and Command network for tracking satellites and monitoring them. The newly built Second Launch Pad at SDSE SHAR as a redundancy to the existing launch pad, and to cater to the requirement of GSLV-Mk III as well as other future launch vehicles, was commissioned on 5 May 2005 with the successful launch of PSLV-C6.
One of the important features of the Indian Space Programme since its inception has been the co-operative approach with the Indian industries. The Department of Space (DOS) has established linkages with about 500 industries in small, medium and large-scale sectors, either through procurement contracts, know-how transfers or provision of technical consultancy. Because of its association with the space programme, the space industry is now capable of meeting the challenges in terms of adopting advanced technologies or handling complex manufacturing jobs.
INTERFACE WITH ACADEMIC AND R&D INSTITUTIONS
The ISRO has an active programme to interact with academic and research institutions all over the country for the benefit of our space programme. In this regard, the Sponsored Research Programme (RESPOND) is an important component of DOS. Under RESPOND, DOS support research and educational activities at universities, individual colleges, and at the Indian Institutes of Technology as well as other research institutions. During the year 2005-2006, 13 projects were successfully completed and 62 new projects were initiated at 42 academic institutions comprising universities, colleges and research institutions. In addition to research projects, DOS supported 73 conferences, symposia, educational and promotional activities in the areas of importance to ISRO, besides providing support to ISRO-institutional chairs at reputed institutions.
From the days of its inception, ISRO has had a very good record of international cooperation. It has Memoranda of Understanding / Agreements with 26 countries / space agencies. A UN sponsored Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in Asia and the Pacific (CSSTE-AP) set up in India has trained more than 400 personnel of the Asia-pacific region. during the year, CSSTE-AP completed 10 years. In addition, ISRO provides training in space applications to personnel of developing countries through its Sharing of Experience in Space (SHARES) programme.
ISRO has launched scientific payloads of other space agencies like Modular Opto-electronic Scanner of DLR, Germany that was flown on IRS-P3 spacecraft and the data is being shared by scientists of DLR, India and the US. It has a co-operative agreement with NASA / NOAA for the reception of meteorological data from INSAT spacecraft by those agencies.
Megha-Tropiques is a joint satellite mission of ISRO and French Space Agency CNES for atmospheric studies. The satellite will be built and launched by ISRO and CNES will develop two of the payloads and the third payload jointly with ISRO. At the same time, scientific instruments developed in the United States, Germany, Sweden, UK and Bulgaria will be launched on board India's Chadrayaan-1 spacecraft. This apart, an Italian scientific instrument will be included onboard India's OCEANSAT. 2 satellite. Instruments for astronomical observation jointly developed with Israel and Canada will be flown onboard India's GSAT-4 and RISAT satellites respectively. And, an Indian scientific instrument to study solar physics and solar-terrestrial sciences will be flown onboard Russia's CORONAS-PHOTON satellite.
India has also set up three local User Terminals and a Mission Control Centre for the international COSPAS / SARSAT programme for providing distress alert and position location service. A search and Rescue Transponder is included in INSAT-3A spacecraft. India is a signatory to the International Charter on Disaster Management and is providing remote sensing data for the same.
Antrix, the commercial front of the Department of Space, is a single window agency for marketing Indian space capabilities. It is playing a key role in the worldwide availability or IRS data through Geoeye, USA. Antrix also provides IRS data processing equipment.
Antrix offers launch services using India's PSLV. Two German, one Korean and one Belgian satellites have already been successfully launched by PSLV. Through Antrix, Telemetry, Tracking and Command support from the Indian ground stations are offered. Similarly, lease of transponders from INSAT system is possible. In this regard, 11 transponders have already been leased to INTELSAT. Customers for the spacecraft components offered by Antrix include world's leading spacecraft manufacturers.
During the year, an agreement was entered into with EADS Astrium, Paris for the joint manufacture of 200 kg and 300 kg class satellite platforms for the telecommunications market. Besides, Antrix won contracts from Europe and Asia for launch services in the highly competitive international markets. After the successful development of a low cost, compact, modular and rugged Automatic Weather Station (AWS) in co-ordination with industry, the technology has been licensed to industry for regular production.
Thus, in addition to successfully developing spacecraft and launch vehicle technologies indigenously, India has also been successful in the application of satellite technology to benefit its national economy. At the same time, India has also been sharing space-based information with the international community and providing commercial space services globally.