The country is now capable of launching its own spacecraft. In fact, it offers this service to many other countries. Now India has made landmark progress with the launch of Chandrayan for its moon mission. India started its space programme with the launch of first space satellite ‘Aryabhatta’ on April 19, 1975. This space satellite was named after the great Indian astronomer and mathematician of the 5th century, Aryabhatta. It was launched from a soviet cosmodrome with the help of a Soviet rocket. It marked India’s giant leap and made her the eleventh country to join the space club. The second satellite ‘Bhaskara’ was launched on June 7, 1979. It was also launched from a Soviet cosmodrome. It was named after two eminent personalities—Bhaskara I and Bhaskara II. It was followed by ‘Rohini’. It was the first Indian satellite put into the space by SLV-III, an Indian rocket. It was launched from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on July 9, 1980. It was developed by the scientists of ISRO.
It was the success of the mission of SLV-III which brought recognition to the space programme of India. India’s fourth satellite Rohini II was launched by the launch vehicle SLV-III from Sriharikota on May 31, 1981. It was designed to provide useful data for 300 days. It was weighted 38 kg. It was known as India’s first development rocket flight. Unfortunately, it burnt in space on June 8, 1981, without completing its mission. Bhaskara II, India’s fifth satellite in space, was launched on November 20, 1981 from Soviet cosmodrome Volgograd. It was the earth observation satellite. It was a milestone in the space journey of India as it brought to India the honour of being a space nation. Apple, an experimental geostationary communication satellite, was launched on June 19, 1981. It was launched with French coordination. With this, India entered the domestic satellite communication era. India launched INSAT-1A on April 10, 1982. India joined the select group of technically advanced countries. But this mission failed on September 6, 1982. In April 1983, India successfully launched Rohini satellite (RS-D-2).
It marked the opening of new horizons for India. India’s ninth satellite INSAT-1B became fully operational in October 1983. It was the world’s first geo-stationary satellite combining services like telecommunication, mass communication and meteorological. It was launched in August 1983 from US Space Shuttle Challenger. India’s space programme is primarily driven by the vision of great scientist Dr. Vikram Sarabhai. He is considered as the Father of Indian Space Programme. The main objective of India’s space programme has been to promote the development of application of Space Science and technology for socio-economic benefits of the country. The launching of Chandrayan I in 2008 marked a milestone in the history of space technology of India. Chandrayan will orbit around the earth for two years. During the period, it will send data to scientists.
The scientists with the help of the data will study various aspects of moon, and will prepare a map of the moon. The map will further help in the study of moon. Then onward India made successive progress in the field of space research. It launched INSAT series satellite which made India’s position stronger in the comity of nation. India has now become self-reliant in terms of launching vehicles and telecommunications. Now India offers telecommunication services to other countries. The launching of satellites like IRS’s, ASLV’s, PSLV’s have placed India in the exclusive club of four nations—USA, Russia, France and Israel. Captain Rakesh Sharma was the first astronaut of India. Now the country enjoys a respectful position in the countries of the world.