On 22nd July 2019, ISRO launched its second lunar exploration mission, Chandrayan-2, successfully, making us proud as always. ISRO has become one of the leading space research centres in the world. It made India only the 6th member of an elite group with the capability of launching into the Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) with the successful launch of GSLV-D5. In 2014, ISRO even made the record of using the largest parachute seen in action in the country amounting to 31 metres in diameter. While the Indian Space Research Organisation continues to surprise the world with its ability, here are the 10 Interesting Facts About ISRO that will make you proud.
1. Dr Vikram Sarabhai, The Founding Father Of ISRO:
On August 15, 1969, after ISRO was officially established grown out of INCOSPAR (Indian National Committee for Space Research, established in 1962), Dr Vikram Sarabhai became the first chairman of the organisation. The location for the first rocket launch was decided by two great individuals, Dr Vikram Sarabhai and Dr Homi J Bhabha. One was the father of the space program, and other, India’s atomic energy program.
2. ISRO’s Mars Mission Was Successful In The First Attempt:
India is the only country that reached Mars in its first attempt and that too in a budget less than the film Gravities. In fact, the amount of money was spent by ISRO in 40 years is the same amount of money NASA spent in a year. The Mars orbiter was sent to the red planet in 2013 by ISRO. And it cost $74 million, while NASA’s ‘Mars Mission Maven’ cost about $671 million.
P.M. Narendra Modi once famously mentioned, “A one-km auto rickshaw ride in Ahmedabad takes Rs 10 and India reached Mars at Rs 7 per km which is really amazing.” In 2018, ISRO’s budget was Rs 9,093.71 crore (approximately $1.2 billion) and NASA’s budget stood at a staggering Rs 149,278.5 crore ($21 billion). It took about 18 months of preparation for ISRO to launch the Mars orbiter while NASA took 5 years for their mars mission.
3. Chandrayaan Was First To Discover Water On The Moon:
The first Chandrayan, India’s first lunar mission was launched in 2008. Similar to ISRO’s mission Mars, its mission to the moon took about 59 million dollars which is about 10% of NASA’s budget for its similar mission to the moon. This mission made India the 4th country to host its flag on the moon. Chandrayan, a lunar orbiter, was also first to discover water on the Moon. In Feb 2017, ISRO created another record by launching 104 satellites in a single mission using the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).
4. The Aryabhata Satellite:
Aryabhata Satellite was the first satellite that was built on our own, without buying any types of equipment from others. Within six years of establishment, ISRO launched Aryabhata, the first Indian Satellite, on April 19, 1975. Indian scientists asked for the methodologies and engineering assistance from the US long back for our Mars mission, but they refused any help. So, the scientists developed new methodology and engineering indigenously and made this historic achievement with a much cheaper cost. Even during the 70s, ISRO managed to launch its own launch vehicle programme with little money and resources. ISRO made India among the few nations in the world to be so technologically advanced in space exploration.
5. ISRO’s Apple Satellite Was Carried On A Bullock Cart:
In those days scientists travelled daily from Thiruvananthapuram in buses carrying a lot of stuff. Many rocket parts were carried by the scientists on bicycles from one place to another within the sprawling range of Thumba, including the first rocket by India was transported on a cycle. In 1963 ISRO launched its first rocket from Thumba Equatorial Launching Station.
Things changed in 1981 when ISRO’s Apple Satellite was carried on a bullock cart for an antenna-range test. It was an experimental geostationary communication satellite and it was carried on a bullock cart alternative trucks made of metal could interfere with the satellite’s signals. In 1984, ISRO was awarded the UNESCO-IPDC for the Kheda Communications Project. Now, The Indian National Satellite System (INSAT) is the largest domestic communication system in the Asia-Pacific region.
6. All Of ISRO’s Equipment Has The Three Horizontal Lines Of ‘Vibhuti’ & ‘Kumkum’:
Similar to the one we see on Lord Shiva’s forehead, every apparatus and machinery belonging to ISRO comes with ‘Vibhuti and Kumkum’, painted on it. ‘Tripund’ comprises of three horizontal lines with a red dot in the centre. Scientists visit Sri Kshetra Dharmasthala before every satellite launch and offer prayers to Lord Manjunathaswamy. Fun fact, ISRO is credited for having the most number of bachelors in any scientific organization.
7. The Contribution Of St. Mary Magdalene Church in Thiruvananthapuram:
The VSSC Space Centre, from where Indians watched their first rocket head for space, was originally a Catholic church, St. Mary Magdalene. It was the ideal location for rocket launches, so the church officials and villagers dedicated the church for the national cause. Now, the church is a space museum. Many great individuals worked here including young Indian scientists like Abdul Kalam Azad worked.
8. ISRO’s Commercial Wing Is Called Antrix:
ISRO’s commercial arm Antrix achieved a turnover of Rs. 18 billion in 2014–15. Antrix was awarded ‘Miniratna‘ status by the government in 2008. Antrix promotes ISRO’s products, services and technologies. It deals with the commercialization of space products, consultancy and technology transfer developed by the ISRO. Its customers include Europe, Middle East and SE Asia. Apart from big names from ISRO and different related space bodies, 2 of India’s biggest industrialists, Ratan Tata and Jamshyd Godrej – are on the board of Antrix.
9. Vehicle-3 / SLV-3:
The project of India’s first experimental satellite launch vehicle SLV-3 or Satellite Launch Vehicle-3 was directed by A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. It was launch by ISRO on July 18, 1980, it weighed 17 tonnes and had a payload of 40 kg, the SLV-3 put 35 kg Rohini Satellite into the orbit. Abdul Kalam moved from heading the SLV-3 launch programme to manning the wheel at the DRDO’s missile programme. In 2002, APJ Abdul Kalam became the president of India.
10. ISRO Has An Older Cousin:
ISRO was established eight years after Pakistan’s SUPARCO. Pakistan launched its space and upper Atmosphere Commission in 1961 and ISRO was started in 1969. SUPARCO has launched a couple of satellites till date with the help of foreign nations and is expected to have satellite launching capability only after 2040, while ISRO expects to reach Venus and revisit Mars by then.
You Can Buy Satellite Data From ISRO:
If you need high-resolution satellite images, you can buy some from ISRO. ISRO also has developed an application called Bhuvan which allows users to explore a 2D/3D representation of the surface of the Earth, similar to Google Earth.
Manned Missions Can Happen Soon:
ISRO’s Manned Missions, the first crewed flight with a spacecraft called Gaganyann, is planned for December 2021 on a home-grown GSLV-III rocket. The project will cost around Rs. 10,000 crores. ISRO is also planning on making India as a nation with its own GPS facility.
Image Source : ISRO,Wikipedia,Fliker