Indian space programme collaboration with USSR
The Indian space program began with the collaboration of former USSR in 1962 when the USSR extended technical assistance to India in setting up a Rocket Launching station. It was established at Thumba, a fishing hamlet near Thiruvananthapuram. The station was commissioned in 1963. Known as Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) it was dedicated to the United Nations Organization in 1968. Since then it has operated as an international sounding rocket range. These sounding rockets are useful for meteorological studies. The launches have been jointly conducted by India and Russia (former USSR) using the Soviet M-100 rockets.
Indian space research organization (ISRO) developments
TERLS has served as the nucleus for the development of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). It has now developed into different organizations—all cooperating for the self-sufficiency of India in the space research. The seven main organizations are Vikram Sarabhai Centre at Thiruvananthapuram itself; ISRO Satellite Centre, Bangalore; SHAR Centre, Sriharikota; Space Application, Ahmedabad; Auxiliary Propulsion System Unit, Bangalore; Development and Educational Communication Unit, Ahmedabad and ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network with headquarters at Bangalore.
Besides these there are three important institutions—The Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad conducts research in space and related sciences. The National Remote Sensing Agency, Hyderabad uses remote sensing techniques for the survey and management of natural resources. Both of these are supported by DOS (The Development of Space), Bangalore which executes India's space activities through ISRO.
Different types of rockets developed by ISRO
Sounding Rockets RH-125, RH-200, RH-300, RH-560 and Centre have been developed by ISRO for meteorological and upper atmospheric research. The biggest of these is RH-560 that can reach an altitude of 350 km. with a 100 kg payload. Looking to the importance of Sounding Rockets two more sounding rocket ranges have been established at Sriharikota and Balasore. Besides the former USSR—now Russia, India has taken the cooperation of United Nations, the USA, the European Space Agency (ESA), the United Kingdom, France and Germany.
Space research started by India using Aryabatta and Bhaskara I
The more visible program of Indian Space research started with the launching of Aryabhatta from USSR for scientific studies. Its two younger sisters were Bhaskara-I and Bhaskara-II both launched from Russia for Earth observation. The space cooperation with USSR resulted in free launching of the three satellites. All the three were indigenously built.
Aryabhatta weighing 360 kg launched in 1975 was meant to acquire the basic expertise in satellite technology. Bhaskara-I launched in 1979 was an earth observation satellite. It carried a TV camera and microwave radiometer for earth observation studies in ocean logy, forestry, snow melting and hydrology. Bhaskara-II was an improved version of Bhaskara-I. It was launched in 1981.
Three divisions of Indian space projects for scientific research
The Indian Space Projects for scientific research and telecommunications can be broadly divided into three groups—the range of Indian Remote Sensing Satellites (IRS); the Augmented Satellite Launched Vehicle (ASLV) together with Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and Geo synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV); and the Indian National Satellite (INSAT) range.
Advantages of Indian remote sensing satellite(IRS)
The Indian Remote Sensing Satellite (IRS) is a follow on of the technology that was already developed in the Aryabhatta launched on March 19, 1975; Bhaskara-I launched on April 7, 1979; Rohini launched on August 1, 1979; July 18, 1980; May 31,1981; April 17,1983 and Apple launched in June 1981. The Rohinis launched in 1979 and 1981 were of course unsuccessful. Both were launched through SLV-3. The other two successful ones too were launched through the same indigenous vehicle while Apple was launched from Ariane ESA base.
The most important in this series in the eighties was IRS-IA. The 975 kg went into orbit on March 17, 1988. It was launched from the base in Soviet Union. Up to 1992 end it assisted Indian scientists in determining crop acreage and their yield. Now the government is able to secure exact estimates about the production of various crops even before the harvest season. It also provided information on the drought and flood affected areas and in assessing crop damage.