ISRO – Where Sky is the Limit

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ISRO
Image Courtesy – ISRO

Reaching the stars has been literally true for ISRO. In a country that is marred with corruption and many government institutions have borne the brunt of slow pace and lethargy in the past, ISRO has managed to hold its own. Recognized as one of the most respectable and capable institutes of the country, ISRO has to its credits a long list of achievements. 

Formed as the Indian National Committee for Space Research or INCOSPAR, the organization was established during the time of Jawaharlal Nehru in 1962 under the guidance of India’s most renowned scientist Vikram Sarabhai. In 1969 it was renamed to ISRO or the Indian Space Research Organization. The vision of ISRO is, ‘to harness space technology for national development while pursuing space science research and planetary exploration’.

Image CourtesyWikimedia

Some feats

ISRO has many medals in its illustrious space career so far and looks strong to continue its golden run in understanding and conquering the space. Some of its most astounding and landmark achievements are as follows:

  1. India’s first satellite Aryabhatta was built entirely in the country and launched in space in 1975.
  2. In 1983 ISRO launched INSAT which has become a familiar term in our colloquial language. INSAT are multipurpose geostationary satellites that help with telecommunications, meteorology, broadcasting and more. 
  3. In 2015 the heaviest commercial mission that weighed up to 1440kg was successfully launched by ISRO. 
  4. ISRO introduced India’s own navigation system called NAVIC, which is a group of seven satellites that help build a navigation system that is more accurate than GPS. The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System of IRNSS makes India one of only five countries in the world to have their own navigation system.
  5. In 2017 ISRO created a world record by launching 104 satellites from Sriharikota using the PSLV in a single mission. The earlier record was held by Russia who had launched 37 satellites in one go. 
  6. One of the most important landmark missions that have etched a place in every Indian’s heart was the Mangalyaan mission or MOM in 2014 where India became the first country to reach Mars in its first attempt. The cost of the mission was a paltry Rs. 450 crore making it the least expensive mission to Mars till date. 
  7. Chandrayaan 1 launched in 2008 was an unmanned mission to the moon. It was India’s first space venture to the moon and the national flag was proudly placed on its surface. In July 2019 ISRO launched Chandrayaan 2 that will conduct a soft landing on the moon. India is the fourth country after Russia, USA and China to land a soft land rover on the moon. 

The Space capsule recovery experiment or SRE -1, the Reusable Launch Vehicle or RLV, the GSLV-MK3 and many more are also landmarks in ISRO’s career. 

Image Courtesy – ISRO

Setting social standards

ISRO has set scientific, research and defense standards and these are well known globally today. Thanks to the fantastic goals ISRO has been recognized for its skill, intelligence, leadership and vision. Yet, the social bearing of the organization is what might stand out clearly. 

Science and research are heavy subjects to study and pursue. For a country that has for years struggled with universal education, as well as, has seen many aspiring intellectuals find solace in universities of other countries, this comes as a huge sigh of not only relief, but also grit and determination. With engineers, scientist and supporting staff making up the maximum crux of the organization, ISRO in many ways, stands for showcasing the brains and intelligence that this country possesses. The potential of skill and knowledge is huge, coupled with problem solving and leadership qualities that make ISRO shine brighter in terms of structure and functions than many other government organizations.

Image Courtesy – Digit

Another social impact that ISRO has been able to establish recently is that women are an important part of all missions. With 10% of the total staff as women engineers, ISRO shatters beliefs of the Indian society that women are not scientifically inclined. It also opens up visually and figuratively the honest and true representation of how working women in India are. They are intelligent, smart and not always in the glamorous aura that we believe them to be in. These are simple women, who have worked hard to get where they are and who inspire a whole generations of girls to think beyond conventional boundaries. 

ISRO-chandrayaan
Image Courtesy Live Mint

ISRO is also poignant because science meets society here. Intelligent discussions and a wider scope of understanding are its underlying premise. Science loves to question and unlike the very fundamental cultural and religious foundation that India finds itself in, ISRO does not necessarily refute them, but has charted its own path. In the land of sadhus and maulwis, black magic and exorcism and where prime time television still caters to feed its audiences about ‘naagin’ stories, it is splendid to find a scientific organization holding its own and gaining immense respect and inspiration too. 

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