India and the Space-Age

Science & Technology

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) created history by becoming the second country in the world to achieve the difficult task of delivering 10 satellites into space.

The launch took place at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, about 90 kms from Chennai. A 52-hour count down ended in the 230-tonne Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLVC9) blasting off at 9:23am on April 18, 2008. 14 minutes after the lift off the 10 satellites were injected into space and placed in orbit within a span of one thousand seconds. The satellites included a Cartosat-2A remote sensing satellite, IMS-1, India's 87kgs mini-satellite, a Third World Satellite (TWSAT) and eight nano satellites.

Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle:
Usually known by its abbreviation, PSLV, it is a launch system operated by ISRO. It has been developed to allow India to launch its Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellites. The launch takes place in 4 stages.

It is an all-weather reconnaissance satellite which will be used for urban and rural development planning. It has a state-of-the-art Panchromatic camera that can shoot black-and-white pictures in the visible region of the electromagnetic spectrum. These photos can be used to infer data. Th is process is called intelligence gathering.

Third World Satellite (TWSAT):
It is the first satellite in the micro satellite series that will be used for earth imaging, space science, atmospheric and ocean studies. The TWSAT will carry a multi-spectral camera and data generated from here will be transmitted to user terminals to gather and assimilate information.

Electromagnetic Spectrum:
It is the range of all possible electromagnetic radiation. The electromagnetic spectrum extends from below the frequencies used for modern radio through gamma radiation covering wavelengths from thousands of kilometers down to a fraction of the size of an atom. 

Nano Satellites:
They weigh between 1 to 10kgs and are cubical in shape. Their names vary as do their objectives. Some are used as advanced transceivers, others for innovative attitude sensoring and as commercial GPS receivers. Each nano satellite has a fixed objective.

CAN-X2, CUTE-1.7, DELFI-C3, AAUSAT-11, COMPASS-1, SEEDS, NLS-5, RUBIN-8 are the names of the 8 satellites launched by ISRO. Reducing the size of the satellites to create these nano satellites has many benefits:
  • It reduces the cost of the launch.
  • It allows for satellites to be launched in multiples.
  • It helps to create cheaper designs and makes mass production easier.
  • The smaller satellites can be used in missions that a larger satellite cannot accomplish, such as using formations to gather data from multiple points or in-orbit inspections of larger satellites.
Did You Know:
  • Russia is the only other country to have attempted to launch 13 satellites in a single launch.
  • India's first moon mission "Chandrayaan-I" is scheduled for launch in June/July this year.
  • A satellite is an object which has been placed into orbit by humans. Such an object might also be called an artificial satellite to distinguish it from natural satellites like the moon.
  • Satellites are placed into orbit to study both outer space and the earth from outer space.

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