PSLV-C51, the first dedicated launch by NSIL, successfully launches Amazonia-1 and 18 Co-passenger satellites from Sriharikota
Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre - an aerial view
Rohini Sounding Rocket (RH 200) getting ready for launch




October 06, 2000

Video Conference on Telemedicine

As a part of World Space Week, being celebrated worldwide from October 4, 2000, ISRO organized a Video Conference on Telemedicine this afternoon (October 6, 2000). Antariksh Bhavan, the Headquarters of ISRO at Bangalore and INSAT-Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan were connected through Satellite Based Communication Network for this conference.

Telemedicine is a mode of health delivery involving the transfer of medical information in a multimedia form between patients and doctors who are geographically separated. Telemedicine is identified as a major thrust area in satellite applications for the current decade. DECU has already embarked on several pilot projects in this regard. A pilot project has been initiated to interconnect the super specialty Apollo Hospital at Chennai with a hospital in a remote village in Chittoor district of Andhra adesh as well as with ISRO hospitals at Shriharikota and Bangalore. As part of GRAMSAT pilot project, several states including Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Orissa have Telemedicine integrated in their planned space applications programs.

In the telemedicine conference today, several specialist doctors -- Dr K S Gopinath, Dr B S Ramesh, Dr R Seethalakshmi, Dr R Sandhya Belwadi, Dr Devi Shetty, Dr Jaya Bhat, Dr P P Maiya & Dr P N Bhat were present at Bangalore end and a large number of practicing doctors were present at Hassan end. A demonstration of cost-effective equipment for telemedicine was also part of the program.

It may be noted that the beneficial role of satellite-based system for education, development communications and healthcare has been recognized by ISRO. Satellite communication with its inherent capability to reach wide and far-flung areas has proved to be of great advantage for the transformation of the society. Development Education and Communication Unit (DECU) of ISRO, based at Ahmedabad, has already demonstrated the use of interactive satellite based communications system in different application are
.. Tele-medicine is one such area of demonstration.

Dr S Rangarajan, Director, Satellite Communication Programmes Office of ISRO, inaugurating the teleconference today, emphasized the need for involvement of Doctors in designing the telemedicine programs in the context of our national needs. Shri M Y S Prasad, Director, MCF Hassan, brought out the importance of the World Space week.


October 22, 2008

PSLV-C11 Successfully Launches Chandrayaan-1

In its fourteenth flight conducted from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota this morning (October 22, 2008), the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO’s) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C11, successfully launched the 1380 kg Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft into a transfer orbit with a perigee (nearest point to Earth) of 255 km and an apogee (farthest point to Earth) of 22,860 km, inclined at an angle of 17.9 deg to the equator.

After a 52 hour count down, PSLV-C11 lifted off from the Second Launch Pad at SDSC SHAR at 06:22 Hrs Indian Standard Time (IST) with the ignition of the core first stage. The important flight events included the separation of the first stage, ignition of the second stage, separation of the payload fairing at about 116 km altitude after the vehicle had cleared the dense atmosphere, second stage separation, third stage ignition, third stage separation, fourth stage ignition and fourth stage cut-off.

PSLV-C11 is the uprated version of ISRO's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle in its standard configuration. Weighing 320 tonnes at lift-off, the vehicle uses larger strap-on motors (PSOM-XL) to achieve higher payload capability. PSOM-XL uses 12 tonnes of solid propellants instead of 9 tonnes used in the earlier configuration of PSLV. PSLV is a four stage launch vehicle employing both solid and liquid propulsion stages. PSLV is the trusted workhorse launch Vehicle of ISRO. During 1993-2008 period, PSLV had fourteen launches of which thirteen (including today’s launch) are consecutively successful. PSLV has repeatedly proved its reliability and versatility by launching 30 spacecraft (14 Indian and 16 for international customers) into a variety of orbits so far.

Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram, designed and developed PSLV. ISRO Inertial Systems Unit (IISU) at Thiruvananthapuram developed the inertial systems. The Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC), also at Thiruvananthapuram, developed the liquid propulsion stages for the second and fourth stages of PSLV as well as reaction control systems. SDSC SHAR processed the solid propellant motors and carried out launch operations. ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) provided telemetry, tracking and command support.

Chandrayaan-1 is India's first spacecraft mission beyond Earth's orbit. It aims to further expand our knowledge about Earth's only natural satellite – the moon. With well-defined objectives, Chandrayaan-1 mission intends to put an unmanned spacecraft into an orbit around the moon and to perform remote sensing of our nearest celestial neighbour for about two years using eleven scientific instruments built in India and five other countries.

The primary objectives of Chandrayaan-1 are:

A. To place an unmanned spacecraft in an orbit around the moon

B. To conduct mineralogical and chemical mapping of the lunar surface

C. To upgrade the technological base in the country

Chandrayaan-1 aims to achieve these well-defined objectives through high-resolution remote sensing of moon in the visible, near infrared, microwave and X-ray regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. With this, preparation of a 3-dimensional atlas of the lunar surface and chemical and mineralogical mapping of entire lunar surface is envisaged.

PSLV placed the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft into a highly elliptical Transfer Orbit (TO) around the earth. Later, through a series of highly complex manoeuvres, the desired trajectories will be achieved. After circling the Earth in its Transfer Orbit, Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft will be taken into more elliptical ‘Extended Transfer Orbits’ by repeatedly firing its Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) in a pr-determined sequence. Subsequently, the LAM is again fired to make the spacecraft to travel to the vicinity of the moon.

When it reaches the vicinity of the Moon and passes at a few hundred kilometers from it, its LAM is fired again so that the spacecraft slows down sufficiently to enable the gravity of the moon to capture it into an elliptical orbit.

Following this, the height of the spacecraft's orbit around the moon is reduced in steps. After a careful and detailed observation of the orbit perturbations there, the orbital height of Chandrayaan-1 will be finally lowered to its intended 100 km height from the lunar surface. Moon Impact Probe will be ejected from Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft at the earliest opportunity to hit the lunar surface in a chosen area.

Later, cameras and other scientific instruments are turned ON and thoroughly tested. This leads to the operational phase of the mission. This phase lasts for about two years during which Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft explores the lunar surface with its array of instruments that includes cameras, spectrometers and SAR.

The Payloads: There are 11 payloads (scientific instruments) through which Chandrayaan-1 intends to achieve its scientific objectives.

They include five instruments designed and developed in India, three instruments from European Space Agency (one of which is developed jointly with India and the other with Indian contribution), one from Bulgaria and two from the United States.

The Indian payloads of Chandrayaan-1 are:

Terrain Mapping Camera (TMC), a CCD camera that maps the topography of the moon, which helps in better understanding of the lunar evolution process.

Hyperspectral Imager (HySI), another CCD camera, is designed for mapping of the minerals on the lunar surface as well as for understanding the mineralogical composition of Moon’s interior.

Lunar Laser Ranging Instrument (LLRI) provides necessary data for accurately determining the height of lunar surface features.

High Energy X-ray Spectrometer (HEX) is designed to help explore the possibility of identifying Polar Regions covered by thick water-ice deposits as well as in identifying regions of high Uranium and Thorium concentrations.

Moon Impact Probe (MIP) demonstrates the technologies required for landing a probe at the desired location on the moon. It is also intended to qualify some of the technologies related to future soft landing missions.

The six international payloads of Chandrayaan-1 are:

Chandrayaan-1 Imaging X ray Spectrometer (C1XS), an ESA payload and jointly developed by Rutherford Appleton Laboratory of England and ISRO Satellite Centre, Bangalore, intends is to carry out high quality mapping of the moon using X-ray fluorescence technique for finding the presnce of Magnesium, Aluminium, Silicon, Iron and Titanium distributed over the surface of the Moon.

Smart Near Infrared Spectrometer (SIR-2), another ESA payload, developed by Max Plank Institute of Germany, aims to study the lunar surface to explore the mineral resources and the formation of its surface features.

Sub kiloelectronvolt Atom Reflecting Analyser (SAR), the third payload from ESA, is built by Swedish Institute of Space Physics and Space Physics Laboratory of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Tiruvananthapuram. The aim of this instrument is to study the surface composition of the moon and the magnetic anomalies associated with the surface of the moon.

Radiation Dose Monitor (RADOM), a payload developed by Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, aims to characterise the radiation environment in a region of space surrounding the moon.

Mini Synthetic Aperture Radar (MiniSAR) is one of the two scientific instruments from the USA and is from Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory and Naval Air Warfare Centre, USA through NASA. MiniSAR is mainly intended for detecting water ice in the permanently shadowed regions of the lunar poles up to a depth of a few meters.

Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) is an imaging spectrometer from Brown University and Jet Propulsion Laboratory of the US through NASA, is intended to assess and map lunar mineral resources at high spatial and spectral resolution.

The Spacecraft: Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft weighed about 1380 kg at the time of its launch and is a 1.5 m cuboid with a solar panel projecting from one of its sides. The spacecraft is powered by a single solar panel generating electrical power of 700 W. A Lithium ion battery supplies power when the solar panel is not illuminated by the sun. To make Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft to travel towards the Moon, its Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) is used. Liquid propellants needed for LAM as well as thrusters are stored onboard the spacecraft. Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft's Dual Gimballed Antenna transmits the scientific data gathered by its eleven scientific instruments to Earth.

Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft was built at ISRO Satellite Centre, Bangalore with contributions from Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) and ISRO Inertial Systems Unit (IISU) at Tiruvananthapuram, Space Applications Centre (SAC) and Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad and Laboratory for Electro-optic Systems (LEOS), Bangalore.

The Ground Segment: The Ground facilities of Chandrayaan-1 perform the important task of receiving the health information as well as the scientific data from the spacecraft. It also transmits the radio commands to be sent to the spacecraft during all the phases of its mission. Besides, it processes and stores the scientific data sent by Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft.

ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) had a lead role in establishing the Ground Segment of Chandrayaan-1 with contributions from ISAC and SAC. The Ground Segment of Chandrayaan-1 consists of:

A. Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN)
B. Spacecraft Control Centre (SCC)
C. Indian Space Science Data Centre (ISSDC)

The Indian Deep Space Network receives the data sent by the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft. Besides, it sends commands to the spacecraft at a power level of upto 20 kilowatts. IDSN consists of two large parabolic antennas – one with 18 m diameter and the other 32 m diameter – at Byalalu, situated at a distance of about 35 km from Bangalore. Of these the 32 m antenna with its ‘seven mirror beam waveguide system’, was indigenously designed, developed, built, installed, tested and qualified. The 18 m antenna can support Chandrayaan-1 mission, but the 32m antenna can support spacecraft missions well beyond Moon.

The Spacecraft Control Centre, located near the ISTRAC campus at Peenya, North of Bangalore, is the focal point of all the operational activities of Chandrayaan-1 during all the phases of the mission.

The Indian Space Science Data Centre forms the third element of Chandrayaan-1 ground segment. Also located at Byalalu, ISSDC receives data from IDSN as well as other external stations that support Chandrayaan-1, stores, processes, archives, retrieves and distributes scientific data sent by Chandrayaan-1 payloads to the user agencies.


Prof U R Rao inducted into the Satellite Hall of Fame, Washington


Prof U R Rao, former Chairman, ISRO and Secretary, Department of Space, was inducted into the highly coveted "Satellite Hall of Fame" by the "Society of Satellite Professionals International" at a gala function attended by over 1000 distinguished guests consisting of Space Scientists, Industry leaders, Administrators and Professionals on March 19, 2013 at Washington DC, USA. Prof U R Rao, who is the first Indian Space Scientist to be inducted into the Satellite Hall of Fame, joins the select group of about 50 Hall of Fame Members including Dr. Arthur C. Clarke, Dr. Van Allen, Dr. Harold Rosen, Olof Lundberg, Eddy Hartenstein, Frederic d'Allest, Sidney Topol, Takayushi Yoshida, Mary Ann Alliott, Mary Frost, Peter Jackson and Robert Berry.

Prof. Rao's citation read out at the time of induction is as follows: Prof. U.R. Rao, Chairman, the Governing Council of the Physical Research Laboratory at Ahmedabad. Prof. U.R. Rao is an internationally renowned space scientist who has contributed to the development of space technology in India and its extensive application to communications and remote sensing of natural resources since starting his career in 1960. More than any other single individual, Prof. Rao is responsible for the creation of India's space and satellite capabilities and their application to the nation's development. As head of the Indian Space Research Organisation, Prof. Rao undertook the responsibility for the establishment of satellite technology in India in 1972. Under his guidance, beginning with the first Indian satellite 'Aryabhata' in 1975, over 20 satellites were designed, fabricated and launched. Rao also accelerated the development of rocket technology in India, resulting in the successful launch of ASLV rocket in 1992 and the operational PSLV launch vehicle. He has tirelessly promoted the use of space technology for broadcasting, education, meteorology, remote sensing and disaster warning. Rao, who has published over 360 scientific and technical papers in various journals, has received many honours and awards, including the Padma Bhushan Award, a very high civilian award of the Government of India."

April 28, 2008

PSLV Successfully Launches Ten Satellites

In its thirteenth flight conducted from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota, today (April 28, 2008), ISRO's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C9, successfully launched the 690 kg Indian remote sensing satellite CARTOSAT-2A, the 83 kg Indian Mini Satellite (IMS-1) and eight nanosatellites for international customers into a 637 km polar Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO). PSLV-C9 in its ‘core alone’ configuration launched ten satellites with a total weight of about 820 kg.


After the final count down, PSLV-C9 lifted off from the second launch pad at SDSC SHAR, at 09:24 Hrs IST with the ignition of the core first stage. The important flight events included the separation of the first stage, ignition of the second stage, separation of the heatshield at about 125 km altitude after the vehicle had cleared the dense atmosphere, second stage separation, third stage ignition, third stage separation, fourth stage ignition and fourth stage cut-off.

The 690 kg main payload, CARTOSAT-2A, was the first satellite to be injected into orbit at 885 seconds after lift-off at an altitude of 637 km. About 45 seconds later, Indian Mini Satellite (IMS-1) was separated after which all the nano satellites were separated in sequence. The initial signals indicate normal health of the satellites.


CARTOSAT-2A is a state-of-the art remote sensing satellite with a spatial resolution of about one metre and swath of 9.6 km. The satellite carries a panchromatic camera (PAN) capable of taking black-and-white pictures in the visible region of electromagnetic spectrum. The highly agile CARTOSAT-2A is steerable along as well as across the direction of its movement to facilitate imaging of any area more frequently.Soon after separation from PSLV fourth stage, the two solar panels of CARTOSAT-2A were automatically deployed. The satellite's health is continuously monitored from the Spacecraft Control Centre at Bangalore with the help of ISTRAC network of stations at Bangalore, Lucknow, Mauritius, Bearslake in Russia, Biak in Indonesia and Svalbard in Norway.High-resolution data from CARTOSAT-2A will be invaluable in urban and rural development applications calling for large scale mapping.


Indian Mini Satellite (IMS -1)

Indian Mini Satellite (IMS-1), flown as an auxiliary payload on board PSLV-C9, is developed by ISRO for remote sensing applications. Weighing 83 Kg at lift-off, IMS-1 incorporates many new technologies and has miniaturised subsystems. IMS-1 carries two remote sensing payloads - A Multi-spectral camera (Mx Payload) and a Hyper-spectral camera (HySI Payload), operating in the visible and near infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. The spatial resolution of Mx camera is 37 metre with a swath of 151 km while that of HySI is about 506 metre with a swath of about 130 km. The data from this mission will be made available to interested space agencies and student community from developing countries to provide necessary impetus to capacity building in using satellite data. The versatile IMS-1 has been specifically developed to carry different payloads in future without significant changes in it and has a design life time of two years.

Nano Satellites for International Customers

Eight Nanosatellites from abroad are carried as auxiliary payloads besides IMS-1 as well as CARTOSAT-2A. The total weight of these Nanosatellite payloads is about 50 Kg. Six of the eight Nanosatellites are clustered together with the collective name NLS-4. The other two nanosatellites are NLS-5 AND RUBIN-8. NLS-4, developed by University of Toronto, Canada consists of six nano-satellites developed by various universities. Two of them - CUTE 1.7 and SEEDS - are built in Japan, while the other four - CAN-X2, AAUSAT-II, COMPASS-1 and DELPHI-C3 are built in Canada, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands respectively. NLS-5 is also built by University of Toronto and RUBIN-8 is built by Cosmos International, Germany. The eight nanosatellite payloads of PSLV-C9 are built to develop nano technologies for use in satellites as well as for the development of technologies for satellite applications.

In its twelve consecutively successful flights so far, PSLV has repeatedly proved itself as a reliable and versatile workhorse launch vehicle. It has demonstrated multiple satellite launch capability having launched a total of sixteen satellites for international customers besides thirteen Indian payloads which are for remote sensing, amateur radio communications and Space capsule Recovery Experiment (SRE-1). PSLV was used to launch ISRO's exclusive meteorological satellite, KALPANA-1, into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) in September 2002 and thus proved its versatility. The same vehicle will be used to launch Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, India's first mission to Moon during this year.






December 07, 1999

Orissa Cyclone -- Role of Space Systems in Disaster Warnings and Mitigation

Use of INSAT

The "Super-cyclone" that hit the Orissa coast on Saturday, October 29, 1999 was tracked by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) through INSAT-1D Very High Resolution Radiometer (VHRR) imagery and INSAT-2E Charged Coupled Device (CCD) Cameras continuously every half an hour from October 26, 1999. Periodic warnings were issued to the Civil Administration (Collectors) of the areas that were likely to be affected by the cyclone through the INSAT Cyclone Warning Dissemination System (CWDS) receivers. 34 such CWDS receivers are deployed in the Orissa state. 28 were working when the cyclone warnings were issued. These warnings were available to the civil administrators till the cyclone hit the coast. These CWDS receivers operate through S-band transponders of INSAT-2B satellite and are capable of being selectively addressed.

Normally, these receivers are kept with the Civil Administration (in Collectors' office) in the Districts that are prone to cyclones. Cyclone warnings through the CWDS receivers consist of a siren which can be heard by the District Collector/BDO/Tahsildar/State Functionary. This siren is followed by a verbal message in the State language of the district. These sirens and warning signals are not intended to be heard directly by the common man. The Civil Administration is expected to act on these hourly warnings for initiating necessary machinery for disaster mitigation. It may be noted that 250 such receivers have been deployed along the East and West Coast of India in 9 States.

Within two days after the cyclone hit the Orissa coast, three INSAT portable mobile telephony terminals were handed over to the Civil Administration in Bhubaneswar for relief work. These terminals work with the INSAT-2C Mobile Satellite Service (MSS) transponders. Within 3 to 4 days, five Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSATs) were airlifted from Delhi and a network of five VSATs was established. HCL Comnet and Essel Shyam supplied the VSATs. At present, VSATs are located at Krishi Bhavan, New Delhi; Secretariat, Bhubaneswar-1; Secretariat, Bhubaneswar-2; District HQ Collector Offices in Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapada; and in Paradeep, Erassama and Balikuda. It helped in establishing contact between the Relief Commissioner at Delhi and the Orissa Secretariat via VSAT network, operating through the INSAT-2C Extended C band transponders. This network of VSATs has now been extended to 13 places. 

Use of Remote Sensing Data

Immediately after the super cyclone hit the Orissa coast and the following days, maps showing flood inundated areas were prepared using the data from Indian Remote Sensing satellites and the microwave data from the Canadian RADARSAT. As the affected areas were clouded making it difficult for using optical remote sensing data that is provided by Indian Remote Sensing satellites (IRS), the microwave data from RADARSAT were also procured to complement IRS data. The pre-cyclone IRS-1C/1D LISS III and PAN data of early November 1999 was used as a reference and compared with post-cyclone IRS/RADARSAT data to work out the inundated areas. The inundated areas were shown in the backdrop of the topographic details and the settlements. The continued monitoring of Orissa using RADARSAT and IRS satellites on 2nd and 4th, and using data from IRS satellites on 8th,11th,13th, and 14th November 1999 enabled mapping successively the receding of the floods.

The maps generated at National Remote Sensing Agency, Hyderabad, using the data from the satellites were rushed to Bhuvaneswar within 24 hours of data acquisition and provided to various officials (list enclosed in annexure) for using them for relief and rescue operations. The maps were used by Indian Air Force and the Indian Army who were in-charge of air dropping of food and other essential materials. Maps were also given to officers in charge of health services (Central team from Anti- Malaria Research Institute, ICMR), mobilization of food and other essential goods to the affected areas, as well as, to the senior officials responsible for coordinating these activities. A copy of the map was also given to Hon'ble Chief Minister of Orissa (India Today dated November 22, 1999 carries on its front cover a photograph of the former CM of Orissa holding one such map).

The officials of the State Government as well as those of Government of India involved in the rescue operations found these maps derived from satellite imageries very useful.

In a nutshell, the INSAT system including INSAT-1D, INSAT-2B, INSAT-2C and INSAT-2E, and the Indian Remote Sensing satellites system including, IRS-1B, IRS-1C and IRS-1D, played a key role during both the pre-cyclone forecasting and warning and post-cyclone disaster mitigation operations. It is also borne from the above, the important role the integrated satellite system combining the communication, broadcasting, meteorological and remote sensing capabilities, could play in the overall disaster management complementing appropriate ground support system for a quick disaster response. Department of Space, in its modest way, will contribute to further upgrading its services by installing improved cyclone warning disaster systems, providing inputs for better meteorological modeling, upgrading communication network essential during such cyclones and establishing digital spatial database for the cyclone prone areas for necessary decision support.