INDIAN SATELLITE SYSTEM : Civil Services Mentor Magazine: DECEMBER - 2017


Indian satellite missions have a long history from 1975. In 1975 Aryabhatta, first Indian satellite was launched by soviet union. This satellite was built by ISRO and named after the fifth century astronomer and mathematician from India. SLV-3 was India's first experimental satellite launch vehicle. SLV-3 was successfully launched on July 18, 1980 from Sriharikota Range (SHAR), when Rohini satellite, RS-1, was placed in orbit, thereby making India the sixth member of an exclusive club of space-faring nations. The successful culmination of the SLV-3 project showed the way to advanced launch vehicle projects such as the Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle (ASLV), Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and the Geosynchronous satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV).

The PSLV is one of world's most reliable launch vehicles. It has been in service for over twenty years and has launched various satellites for historic missions like Chandrayaan-1, Mars Orbiter Mission, Space Capsule Recovery Experiment, Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) etc. PSLV remains a favourite among various organisations as a launch service provider and has launched over 40 satellites for 19 countries. In 2008 it created a record for most number of satellites placed in orbit in one launch by launching 10 satellites into various Low Earth Orbits. The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle was primarily developed to launch INSAT class of satellites into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbits. GSLV is being used for launching GSAT series of satellites. GSLV is a three stage launcher that uses one solid rocket motor stage, one Earth storable liquid stage and one cryogenic stage. The most recent flight of GSLV, the GSLV-D5, placed GSAT-14 into its planned orbit and marked the first successful flight of the indigenous cryogenic stage. Earlier, GSLV had launched various communication satellites among which EDUSAT is notable, being India's first satellite built exclusively to serve the educational sector through satellite based distance education.
Important Indian satellite's are mentioned below:


Gsat 16 which is a communication satellite was launched on 6 December 2014 from the Guiana Space Centre, French Guiana, by an Ariane 5 rocket. It is an advanced communication satellite weighing 3150kgs. It replaced the INSAT-3E. The satellite is equipped with 12 ku, 24 C and 12 Extended C band transponders.The satellite also has the highest Indian ku-beacon transmitter. With a life span of 12 years it will form part of GSAT series of Indian communication satellites. It will support civil aviation, boost public and private TV and radio services, large-scale internet and telephone operations.


MOM was launched aboard PSLV C-25, which was an XL variant of the PSLV, one of world's most reliable launch vehicles. The XL variant was earlier used to launch Chandrayaan (2008), GSAT-12 (2011) and RISAT-1 (2012). Marking India's first venture into the interplanetary space, MOM will explore and observe Mars surface features, morphology, mineralogy and the Martian atmosphere. Further, a specific search for methane in the Martian atmosphere will provide information about the possibility or the past existence of life on the planet. The enormous distances involved in interplanetary missions present a demanding challenge; developing and mastering the technologies essential for these missions will open endless possibilities for space exploration.


Originally known as MetSat-1, the satellite was the first launched by the PSLV into the Geostationary orbit. On 2003 it was renamed to Kalpana-1 in memory of Kalpana Chawla—a NASA astronaut who perished in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.

SAARC satellite

In a step to take the friendship of the SAARC countries to the next level prime minister Narendra Modi announced the building of SAARC satellite. It is to be dedicated as a gift to the neighboring countries. This satellite will help to have a real time scientific data. The main objective being it enables a full range of services to all our neighbors in the areas of telecommunications and broadcasting applications like television, DTH, tele-education and disaster management. It is likely to be launched by ISRO in December 2016.


India as of now to launch heavy satellites depends on the other countries. With the successful launch of GSLV MARK III India is going to becoming self reliant which would save a massive amount of foreign currency paid for other countries for launches and earn foreign currency by launching other countries satellites.

It is india’s biggest ever rocket launched. It includes an unmanned capsule which could one day send astronauts into space, the latest accomplishment of its ramped-up space program. It is developed by ISRO. It makes India self reliant in launching heavier communication satellite of INSAT 4 class which weigh 4500-5000kg. It has three stages. The first stage uses S200 solid motors. The second stage is re-startable liquid stage. The third stage is cryogenic upper stage C25.

Indian satellites perform various important functions like Earth observation, which include Agriculture and soil mapping, Mineral and Bio rersouce mapping, Disaster management support etc. They also greatly help in communication system. Satellite are helpful in climate and environmental studies. It can be seen that satellite systems are of great importance to any country. Indian satellite system is considered amongst the best in the world, only recently India has launched the satellites of France and U.K.

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