Earlier we used to see mothers putting food into the mouths of their babies showing the brightly shining stars and butter ball like moon. When the baby cries to catch the moon and stars, she used to show them in a pool of water to make them happy. Those mothers might not have expected that human beings will land on that moon and conduct experiments to build a permanent residence there. Along with other nations like U.S. and Russia, India is also planning to leave its foot prints on moon and trying in its own way to explore the vast universe.
ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) is the one which is responsible for execution of these explorations. Established in 1969, this organization had grown leaps and bounds under iconic personalities like Vikram Sarabhai, Satish Dawan and many more. India launched its 1st satellite Aryabhatta in 1975 with the help of Soviet Union’s space launch vehicle. Rohini is the 1st satellite to be launched by India with its space launch vehicle SLV-3. The technology underwent several stages from SLV-3, ASLV (Augmented Space Launch Vehicle), PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle), GSLV (Geo-Synchronous Space Launch Vehicle) and GSLV Mark III. Among all these PSLV is considered as the work horse of ISRO since it has launched 55 satellites/spacecrafts into space.
One of the mile stones in the journey of ISRO is the successful launch of CHANDRAYAAN-1. This mission is considered as a first step to land an Indian on the moon. It carried 11 satellites in which 5 are from India and remaining 6 are from abroad. The total cost of the project is $ 86 million U.S. dollars. Even this space mission was achieved with the help of PSLV. The success of this mission made India as a competitor for nations like Japan and China which carrying similar missions under the names Selene and Chang respectively. The purpose of Chandrayaan is to prepare 3-D maps of moon’s topography (surface) and to detect the presence of the helium gas on it. As we all know uranium is the fuel required for nuclear fission reaction, helium is the fuel required for nuclear fusion reaction which liberates an equal amount of energy as fission reaction. According to some researches earth possessed only 15 tons of helium whereas moon possessed 5 million tons of helium. In order to have their own share every nation has been conducting these missions onto moon.
Apart from all these today India a stage where it lends its launch vehicle for commercial launches. Recently ISRO launched SPOT-6(weighing 720 kg), French satellite into space with PSLV and earned an amount of Rs 100 crore. This being the latest, it launched 29 commercial satellites and next such launch was scheduled in December 2012 with 5 foreign satellites. Despite all these successful launches PSLV has its own limitations. It is capable of launching satellites which weigh below one ton. Hence in order to increase its capability ISRO has been developing GSLV Mark III. These latest versions are capable of launching satellites that weigh two tons and more. This sophistication in launch vehicle technology will enable India to launch communication satellites on its own launch vehicle. In order to prepare its own GPS system for its air space, recently India sent a communication satellite into space with the help of France. For launching its satellite it paid an amount of Rs 700 crore to France.
Even though India achieved a lot in space technology and surpassed many milestones there exists a lot which is to be achieved. Let us hope India will place its citizen on moon and hoist our national flag on it. Let us hope many more missions like journey onto other planets like Mars will also be conducted by ISRO.