The History, Evolution And Role Of ISRO

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Thе Indian Spacе Rеsеarch Organisation (ISRO), India’s primary spacе agеncy, has bееn a bеacon of progrеss and innovation in spacе tеchnology. Since its incеption, ISRO has madе significant stridеs in spacе еxploration, satеllitе communication, and various othеr domains, marking India’s ascеnt as a major playеr in thе global spacе community. This articlе by EuroSchool dеlvеs into thе history and еvolution of ISRO, highlighting its vision, mission and objеctivеs.

History of ISRO

1. The Early Years

ISRO’s journey began in the early 1960s, under the visionary leadership of Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, often regarded as the father of the Indian space program. The establishment of the Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR) in 1962 laid the groundwork for space research in India. In 1963, India launched its first sounding rocket from Thumba, marking its foray into space exploration.

2. The Formation of ISRO

The Indian Space Research Organisation was formally established on August 15, 1969. This marked a significant leap forward, as ISRO took over the responsibilities of INCOSPAR and expanded its vision. The primary objective was to harness space technology for national development while pursuing space science research and planetary exploration.

3. Role Of ISRO

In addition to its technological progress, ISRO plays a crucial role in enhancing science and science education within India. Under the Department of Space, it oversees a range of dedicated research centres and autonomous institutions specialising in remote sensing, astronomy, astrophysics, atmospheric sciences, and space sciences at large. ISRO’s lunar and interplanetary missions, as well as its various scientific projects, not only foster and stimulate science education but also supply the scientific community with invaluable data. This, in turn, significantly contributes to the enrichment and advancement of scientific knowledge.

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Where Is ISRO located?

ISRO’s central headquarters is located in Bengaluru, with its operations extending across multiple centres and units. The Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thiruvananthapuram is responsible for building launch vehicles, while satellite design and development occur at the U R Rao Satellite Centre (URSC) in Bengaluru.

The Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota handles the integration and launching of satellites and launch vehicles. Development of liquid stages, including the cryogenic stage, is managed at the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) in Valiamala and Bengaluru. The Space Applications Centre (SAC) in Ahmedabad focuses on sensors for communication and remote sensing satellites and the application aspects of space technology. Finally, the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) in Hyderabad is entrusted with the reception, processing, and dissemination of data from remote sensing satellites.

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Vision, Mission and Objectives of the Department of Space

According to the website of ISRO, the following are the vision, mission and objectives of the Department of Space:


Harness, sustain and augment space technology for national development while pursuing space science research and planetary exploration


  • Design and development of launch vehicles and related technologies for providing access to space.
  • Design and development of satellites and related technologies for earth observation, communication, navigation, meteorology and space science.
  • Communication programme for meeting telecommunication, television broadcasting and developmental applications.
  • Satellite-based Remote Sensing programme for management of natural resources and monitoring of environment using space-based imagery.
  • Space-based navigation system
  • Space-based Applications for Societal Development.
  • Research and Development in space science and planetary exploration.
  • Promote and authorise private firms to play a key role in the global Space market


● Operational flights of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) and Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV)
● Design and development of New Space Transportation solutions
● Design, Development and Realisation of Communication Satellites
● Design, Development and Realisation of Earth Observation Satellites.
● Development of Navigation Satellite Systems
● Development of satellites for Space Science and Planetary Exploration
● Earth Observation Applications
● Space-based Systems for Societal Applications
● Advanced Technologies and newer initiatives
● Training, Capacity Building and Education
● Promotion of Space technology
● Infrastructure / Facility Development for space research
● International Cooperation
● Commercial utilisation of the products and services emanating from the Indian space programme
● Promotion and authorisation of Indian private firms in the Space sector

What Does ISRO do?

The primary functions and activities of ISRO include:

  1. Space Exploration:
  2. ISRO conducts various space exploration missions, including lunar and planetary exploration. Notable missions include Chandrayaan for lunar exploration and the Mars Orbiter Mission (Mangalyaan).

  3. Satellite Development and Launch:
  4. ISRO designs, develops, and launches a range of satellites for different purposes, including communication, earth observation, navigation, and scientific research.

  5. Launch Vehicle Development:
  6. ISRO develops and operates a fleet of launch vehicles, such as the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), to place satellites into orbit.

  7. Remote Sensing and Earth Observation:
  8. The organisation uses satellites to collect data for various applications such as weather forecasting, disaster management, agricultural monitoring, and resource mapping.

  9. Communication:
  10. ISRO’s communication satellites provide vital services in telecommunications, broadcasting, and broadband connectivity across India, especially in remote and rural areas.

  11. Research and Development:
  12. The agency is involved in extensive R&D in space technology, materials science, and satellite communication, among other areas.

  13. International Collaboration:
  14. ISRO collaborates with various international space agencies and organisations for joint missions, sharing of resources and data, and cooperative research.

  15. Education and Training:
  16. The organisation promotes space education and awareness through various programs and collaborations with academic institutions.

  17. Commercial Ventures:
  18. Through its commercial arm, Antrix Corporation, ISRO provides satellite launch services to other countries and commercial entities.

  19. Support to National Development:

ISRO’s technologies and applications support various national development activities, including urban planning, environmental monitoring, and national security.

Also Read: India’s milestones in space exploration

ISRO plays a crucial role in advancing India’s capabilities in space technology and applications, contributing significantly to scientific knowledge, national development, and global space endeavours.

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The history and evolution of ISRO is a testament to India’s enduring commitment to space research and exploration. From humble beginnings to pioneering achievements, ISRO has continually pushed the boundaries of what is possible, marking India’s indelible footprint in the annals of space history. As ISRO continues to evolve, it stands as a beacon of inspiration, not just for India but for the entire world, in pursuing scientific discovery and technological advancement. For more blogs on Science, head to the Science category on the EuroSchool blogs page.

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