ISRO’s Beginnings – Memories of a Systems Engineer of the early 70s


Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) evolved from late 1960’s with two collaborative institutions. The Space Application Center (SAC) in Ahmedabad collaborated with NASA and Bengaluru ISRO collaborated with Russian space agency. Both were separated and no communications existed in the beginning due to cold war issues. I had more knowledge of SAC since I joined SAC in 1971.
This article only provides more on SAC and its impact on Indian Space Program with the success stories of the beginning.


In the Beginning

Early hires in SAC came with military background and some of them also worked in RCA Earth Station in Pune.… Click here to read the complete article

GSLV Mark III and the road ahead

June 5, 2017 will go down as a historic date for the Indian space programme with the success of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launching the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk-III (GSLV Mk-III) in its full-fledged maiden flight. In this success, ISRO also breaks free of the first-time launch jinxes for India which the Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV), Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk II (GSLV Mk II) faced during their first flights.

Although ISRO had tested the GSLV Mk III’s solid motor on a previous mission, June 5 was the first time the launch vehicle was being flown with an upgraded cryogenic engine.… Click here to read the complete article

GSAT-17 – the latest in a long line of ‘Made in India, for India’ communication satellites

GSAT-17, launched on an Ariane 5 rocket today, is the 31st communication satellite to roll off ISRO’s production lines.

The very first one was APPLE, the ‘Ariane Passenger Payload Experiment’, which the European Space Agency launched for free on their fledgling Ariane 1 rocket 36 years ago. This experimental spacecraft was, as an ISRO brochure noted at the time, “conceived as a stepping stone towards future operational national communication satellites which can provide communication, direct TV broadcast and meteorological services from a geostationary orbit.”

The first such operational communication satellite designed and built by ISRO, INSAT-2A, went into space, again on an Ariane rocket, in July 1992.… Click here to read the complete article

Space Entrepreneurship – Indian Space Conclave 2017

Students for Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) is a worldwide student-run chapter that aims to impart knowledge about space and astronomy. SEDS educates people about the benefits of space by providing opportunities. SEDS India is the governing body of all SEDS student chapters across the country.

SEDS – India, founded in 2004, is a parent organisation which currently constitutes 8 chapters in various colleges around India. The headquarters of SEDS India resides at VIT University. SEDS-VIT has contributed immensely to the development of space technology with projects such as NASA’s CanSat, ERC’16 and SpaceX Hyperloop.

The global rise of space start-ups in recent years has triggered a mass shift of young scientists and researchers towards the field of aerospace and space science.… Click here to read the complete article

What It Was Like to Watch the Mk III Launch Live – and Why You Should Watch the Next One

To a space enthusiast, going to watch a rocket launch feels quite like making a pilgrimage. The experiences have interesting similarities. You prepare for your journey with a deep sense of expectation, you plan your travel so that you arrive at the perfect moment, so that you don’t miss out on that moment of truth. Finally, the reward for your journey is that magnificent view, and the emotions stirred within at that awe-inspiring moment. For a space-geek, June 5 was one of those days, when India made history.

I’m also a big fan of spreading the word on how space can be useful to the common man, and the launch made for an opportunity to take some friends who didn’t work in the space sector along and show them how things worked in Sriharikota.… Click here to read the complete article

Providing satellite-powered data analytics to empower lives of farmers

Over 12,000 suicides were reported in the agricultural sector of India every year since 2013. One of the fundamental reasons for such manifestation of unfortunate incidents of suicides in the farm sector in India is a large number of farmers living below the poverty line. The question remains how do you address this problem in short term while you try to double-quadruple the income of farmers over a period of time.

The crop insurance claims in India are likely to touch Rs 13,000 crore (~$2b) in the 2016-17 crop year ending next month, in spite of good monsoon, indicating other risks weighing heavy on the farm sector.… Click here to read the complete article

Diplomatist – Articles on Indian Space Programme

Diplomatist has covered two major stories on the Indian space programme as a part of its April 2017 edition.

Prof. Chandrashekar from National Institute of Advanced Studies has written on the launch sector with the evolution of PSLV and GSLV taking centre stage as ISRO’s capabilities in the launch sector has matured.

As the global space power games evolve, they will have a cascading effect on the threats and opportunities that the Indian programme will encounter. While opportunities can be exploited suitably, the obvious lessons that can be learned from the PSLV and GSLV experiences is that key areas of development have to be shielded from the vagaries of global power politics.Click here to read the complete article

Course on Pico/Nano/Micro-Satellites Design

Here is a great opportunity for Indian space enthusiasts and students to learn how to build a small satellite. Dr Sharan Asundi (Assistant Professor, Department of Aerospace Science Engineering at Tuskegee University and Visiting Researcher at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center) is offering a course on Pico/Nano/Micro-Satellites Design in Bangalore.

The objective of the course is to engage in learning the methods & processes for designing and experience hands-on training in assembling, testing of PNMSat (Pico/Nano/Micro-Satellites) systems/subsystems. The broad aims include

  • An understanding systems engineering approach to the design & development of PNMSats.
  • Review principles of Orbital Mechanics relevant to the design of PNMSats.
Click here to read the complete article

The thoughts behind a NewSpace investor

Jeff Bezos – ‘Won a lottery with Amazon’ and want to use it fund my dream of an expansive human race working in space via creating an infrastructure for space economy today. Amazing parallels are drawn between internet and space on creating the underlying infrastructure.

We have taken over two decades to reap the real benefits of internet infrastructure in India. What should be our approach to space?

Click here to read the complete article

Why is NewSpace important for India?

NewSpace is a movement of space entrepreneurs investing/getting backing private capital to create space products and services which are primarily targeted at B2B, B2C markets. This is different from traditional folks who target government mostly as their customer and try to hold the government as an anchor customer for them to kick-off and run their business.

The NewSpace India team has been a part of a new crowdsourced venture on tracking NewSpace companies around the world. HERE is an archive of 100s of NewSpace companies being tracked with different verticals (launch, satellite, analytics, etc.) across different geographies. Today there is evidence that there are more than 1000 NewSpace companies around the globe that have been kicked-off in the last 10 years.… Click here to read the complete article