Ministry of Science & Technology07-February, 2004 16:16 IST

Self-sufficiency, indigenisation, exclusive satellites and our own GSLVs form part of the strategy of our Space programme.

Space Vision 2025

A Space Vision 2025 was unveiled at the Indian Science Congress – 2003, in Bangalore. The vision document spells out the steps to take our space programme to greater heights. The emphasis is on achieving self-reliance in launching capabilities and end dependence on foreign agencies for the same. Of course, self-sufficiency has been achieved in the fabrication of satellites. Mission to moon also forms part of the vision.

PSLV modified

The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle has been modified and successfully flight tested, when it launched the METSAT an exclusive satellite for meteorological purposes in mid-September, 2002. The METSAT was placed by it in a geo-synchronous transfer orbit for its journey to home slot in space. This was PSLV-C4’s first flight to place a satellite of over 1,200-kg into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO). Initially, PSLV was designed for launching 900 kg Indian Remote Sensing Satellites (IRS) into a 900 km Sun Synchronous Orbit.


METSAT now named ‘Kalpana’ is the first exclusive meteorological satellite built by ISRO. METSAT will be a precursor to the future INSAT systems that will have separate satellites for Meteorology, Telecommunciations and Broadcasting services. This will enable larger capacity to be built into INSAT satellites, both in terms of transponders and their radiated power, without design constraints posed by meteorological instruments.

GSLV-Successful Test Flights

Successful test flights of India’s Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) in April, 2001, and early 2003, is a significant milestone in making India self-reliant in space programme. Once commissioned after few more test flights, GSLV will enable India to launch its communication satellites like INSAT on its own from its own soil. At present, India has to depend on outside Agencies for INSAT launch.

PSLV commercialisation

India’s War Horse Launch Vehicle PSLV (C-3) was successfully launched in October, 2001, placing three satellites, i.e. India’s TES, Belgium’s PROBA and Germany’s BIRD, in polar orbit. This has enabled India enter the era of commercialisation in space technology, in a small way.

INSAT-3A/3B /3C/3E in orbit

INSAT-3A/3B/3C are all in orbit, while INSAT 3E was launched in September, 2003, from Kourou in French Guyana augmenting India’s telecommunication, broadcasting and meteorological services. INSAT-3D is another exclusive METSAT scheduled for launch in 2004. With this, the INSAT-3 series would be over. Then the INSAT-4 series, comprising 7 satellites, would begin in 2005.


The Indian Remote Sensing Satellite system, comprising IRS-1C, IRS-1D and IRS-P4 besides IRS-P3, is the largest such system in the world today. It continues to provide data, which are used in several fields of development, like agricultural crop forecast, ground and surface water harvesting, forest survey, wasteland mapping, identifying potential fishing zones, urban planning and environmental monitoring, etc.

PSLV-C-5 launches IRS-P6

The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C5 launched in October putting into orbit the Indian Remote Sensing Satellite IRS-P6, also known as RESOURCE Satellite-I. This is the first time when the PSLV placed a satellite of over 1,300 kg. in orbit. The IRS-P6 weighs over 1,360 kg.

Advanced IRS

India is currently in the process of developing advanced remote sensing satellites with new features. This is for addressing applications of direct relevance in important areas of land and water resources management, large-scale mapping operations and ocean and meteorological services.

Indigenous Cryogenic Engine

The indigenous cryogenic engine is expected to be ready in two years. It has already undergone a number of successful firings at the liquid propulsion test facilities at Mahendragiri in Tamil Nadu. With this, India will become fully self-reliant in launching. The INSAT satellites will then be launched from our soil with our own GSLVs. For the developmental flights of GSLV, India is using the Russian supplied cryogenic engine for its upper stage.


Telemedicine is a recent application of the satellite communication that makes specialised medical facility available to the remote areas of the country. Expert consultancy could be obtained for the patients in these areas from specialists in speciality hospitals in cities. Five VSAT terminals have been set up for telemedicine in Chamarajanagar, Kenchanaballi, Bangalore, Kolkatta and Tripura. Port Blair in Andaman and Nicobar islands is also linked with telemedicine facilities.


The Government is planning to have an exclusive satellite for enhancing literacy level. A Satellite Educational Authority is to be set up to work out the strategy and modalities of implementation. The satellite will cater to both formal and non-formal education. The Indian Space Research Organisation has already prepared a blue-print for launching the EDUSAT by the indigenously built geo-stationary launch vehicle GSLV in 2007-08.


Megha-tropiques aim at the study of the tropical atmosphere and climate. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), and the French National Space Agency (CNES), have already entered the second phase of the joint satellite mission, which also envisages development of scientific instruments to be carried on a French satellite platform (PROTEUS) and the satellite will be launched by India’s PSLV in 2006.

Artificial Limb

The Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre of the Indian Space Research Organisation has developed a polyurethane foot, a boon for the handicapped. The new artificial foot technology has an edge over the popular and the traditional Jaipur leg, with the main advantage being very light and more durable. The polyurethane foot has been tested extensively at the Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram, and a number of modifications and improvements have been made on the feedback of the amputees.

Polyurethane is one of several composite materials developed by the Space Centre, which is used as an ingredient to make rocket motors. The ISRO recently transferred this technology to a Jaipur-based social organisation, Bhagwan Mahavir Vikalang Sahayata Samiti, free of cost to enable production of artificial leg in large quantities.

Space System for Rural Development

As a continuing measure to use space systems for rural development, "Swarn Jayanti Vidya Vikash Antariksh Upagraha Yojna (Vidya Vahini), using INSAT–3B Satellite, was inaugurated in May, 2000, covering villages in the Kalahandi-Bolangir- Koraput region of Orissa. Vidya Vahini, is to be expanded to cover other parts of the country for providing education, information and training to people in the rural and remote areas.

Space Programmes for North–East

With a view to promoting space technology for the benefit of the population in this region, a North-Eastern Space Applications Centre was set up at Shillong in December, 2000. The Centre is addressing natural resources management, developmental communication and space science research in the region.

Scientific Campaign

ISRO, for the first time, has started an intensive scientific campaign involving the launch of 40 Rohini sounding rockets. This, along with launches of high-altitude balloons from Sriharikota and low altitude balloons from Thiruvananthapuram, facilitate study of gravity waves in the atmosphere.

Mission to Moon

ISRO is to undertake a scientific un-manned mission to moon, primarily using its capability to build spacecraft with associated sensors and launch vehicles like PSLV and GSLV. The Government has given the go ahead for the Rs. 386 crore mission, titled ‘Chandrayaan’ to be accomplished by 2008.

Satellite-based navigation

Satellite based Air Traffic Management Services for the Indian Airspace is in the offing. The Indian Space Research Organisation, in coordination with the Airports Authority of India, is working on a Technology Demonstration Project for this. The project is the first step towards introduction of a consolidated satellite based communications, navigation and surveillance Air traffic Management system for the Indian airspace.

(Release ID :1031)