From launching its first satellite Aryabhata to hoisting the Indian flag on the moon and reaching Mars in its first attempt, India’s ISRO became one of the world’s top space organizations for research & human space exploration. With the vision “harness space technology for national development while pursuing space science research & planetary exploration”, it has never failed to impress the world with its successful satellite launches.
Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) was previously known as the Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR), established by Jawaharlal Nehru under the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) in 1962, as urged by the scientist Vikram Sarabhai. INCOSPAR grew and became ISRO in 1969 under DAE. Then, the Union Government constituted a Space Commission and established the Department of Space (DOS) in 1972, bringing ISRO under it & to date, DOS manages ISRO.
This article will discuss the ten most interesting and unknown facts about ISRO. Let’s take a look!
10 Amazing facts on ISRO
1. Dr Vikram Sarabhai founded ISRO in 1969. He is also considered the father of the Indian space program. On his name, the lander for Chnadrayaan 2 was called 'Vikram lander'.
2. Aryabhata was the first satellite of ISRO, launched on 19 April 1975 with the help of Russia. Aryabhata was the famous astronomer who invented zero & discovered the approximate value of pi. Thus, the name was given to this satellite.
3. Chandrayaan 1 – India’s first lunar mission launched in 2008 to collect scientific information about the moon’s mineralogy, geology & topography, making India the 4th country to host its flag on the moon. Few also consider the mission failed as ISRO lost contact with the spacecraft even before completing a year in space. This successful mission was followed by Chandrayaan 2 & Chandrayaan 3.
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4. Mangalyaan or MOM (2014) - No doubt that MOM or Mars Orbiter Mission is ISRO’s biggest achievement. To this date, India remains the only country to reach mars on its first attempt (in orbit, not landed) despite having a tight budget of INR 450 crore (even this amount was also not fully exhausted), which was the lowest to date. Overall, India is the 4th country to reach Mars after the US, Russia & Europe.
5. ISRO is one of the six space agencies worldwide with the ability to build and launch satellites from its own soil. It created another world record for launching the greatest number of satellites in one go in a single mission in 2017 using the Indian rocket Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle from Andhra Pradesh. 101 were foreign satellites out of 104 satellites.
6. Interestingly, parts of the first rocket were carried on bicycles to a church in Thiruvananthapuram in 1963. This church was later renamed Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre. Satellite Launch Vehicle-3 (SLV-3), which was India’s Ist experimental SLV weighing 17- tonnes was sent into orbit by ISRO, this project was spearheaded by APJ Abdul Kalam, who later became President of India.
7. A fun fact is that ISRO has an elder cousin SUPARCO. Pakistan also has a space agency called SUPARCO, formed in 1961, and ISRO was formed in 1969. On the one hand, ISRO launched 86 satellites for itself, whereas; SUPARCO launched only 2 with the help of foreign countries.
8. ISRO also developed Bhuvan, a web-based 3D satellite imagery tool that is the Indian version of Google Earth.
9. All ISRO’s equipment has the three horizontal lines of ‘Vibhuti’ & ‘Kumkum’, identical to the one seen on Lord Shiva’s forehead.
10. ISRO’s last 40-year spending is equivalent to NASA’s six months' expenditure, and on the other hand, NASA’s internet speed is 91GBps, and ISRO’s internet speed is 2GBps.
Despite such differences and a tight budget, India’s ISRO has proven from the start that “Even the sky is not the limit”; it will keep digging and growing in its field, surpassing everyone’s expectations and fighting all the odds. Undoubtedly, ISRO has been one of the best-performing government organizations.