Isro’s beginnings were humble. Begun on India’s independence day in 1969 by Dr Vikram A Sarabhai, the father of India’s space programme some of its operations were planned from inside a cow shed. Its first achievement was the launch of the Aryabhatta satellite using a Russian rocket.
Isro was also responsible for the first large scale launch of remote sensing satellites for television broadcasts. India now has the largest fleet of remote sensing satellites in the world.
This is a timeline of its achievements:
1962 – Indian National Committee for Space Research set up by the Department of Atomic Energy. Work starts on Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) in Kerala.
1963 – First sounding rocket launched from TERLS Nov 21.
1965 – Space Science and Technology Centre set up in Thumba.
1968 – Experimental Satellite Communication Earth Station set up in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
1969 – Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) formed Aug 15 under the Department of Atomic Energy.
1971 – Satish Dhawan Space Centre (formerly SHAR Centre) formed in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.
1972 – Department of Space (DoS) established and ISRO brought under it. ISRO Satellite Centre set up in Bangalore and Space Applications Centre in Ahmedabad.
1975 – Satellite Instructional Television Experiment using an US satellite. First Indian satellite, Aryabhata, launched into space April 19.
1977 – Satellite Telecommuncation Experiments Project (1977-79) using Franco-German Symphonie Satellite.
1979 – Bhaskara-1, an earth observation experimental satellite, launched. First experimental launch of Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-3) carrying the Rohini satellite. The satellite not placed in the orbit.
1980 – Second experimental launch of SLV-3 with Rohini. Mission successful.
1981 – First developmental launch of SLV-3. Rohini placed into orbit. Launch of APPLE, an experimental geo-stationary communication satellite. Launch of Bhaskara-2 by an USSR rocket.
1982 – Launch of Insat-1A communication satellite by an US rocket.
1983 – Second developmental flight of SLV-3 placed Rohini into orbit. Insat system commissioned with launch to Insat-1B satellite.
1984 – First Indian cosmonaut, Rakesh Sharma, spends eight days in Russian space station Salyut 7. He flew in Russian rocket Soyuz T-11.
1987 – First development launch of Augmented SLV (ASLV) with satellite SROSS-1. Mission failed.
1988 – Launch of Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellite – IRA-1A through a Russian rocket. Second developmental flight of ASLV with SROSS satellite. Mission failed.
1991 – Launch of second operational remote sensing satellite IRS-1B.
1992 – First successful launch of ASLV placing SROSS-C satellite. Launch of Insat-2A, the first satellite of the indigenously-built second generation Insat series, followed by the 3 and 4 series.
1993 – First development flight of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) with IRS-1E. Mission failed.
1994 – Fourth developmental flight of ASLV with SROSS-C2. Mission successful. Successful launch of PSLV placing IRS-P2 in orbit.
1996 – Third developmental flight of PSLV with IRS-P3.
1997 – First operational launch of PSLV carrying IRS-1D.
1999 – PSLV started carrying foreign payloads (Korean and German satellites) along with ISRO’s satellite Oceansat.
2001 – Successful launch of heavy rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) with GSAT-1 satellite. Launch of PSLV with India’s Technology Experimental Satellite and satellites from Belgium and Germany.
2002 – Launch of Kalpana-1 satellite on-board a PSLV rocket.
2003 – Launch of GSat-2 on board GSLV and Resourcesat-1 by PSLV.
2004 – Launch of Edusat by GSLV’s first operational flight.
2005 – Commissioning of second launch pad at Sriharikota. Launch of Cartosat-1 and Hamsat by PSLV.
2006 – Second operational flight of GSLV with Insat-4C. For the first time, an Indian rocket carried a communication satellite. The mission failed.
2007 – Launch of Cartosat-2 with Space Capsule Recovery Experiment and two foreign satellites and successful recovery of the space capsule. Launch of Italian satellite AGILE by PSLV and Insat-4CR by GSLV.
2008 – Launch of Israeli satellite Tecsar by PSLV. Launch of two Indian and eight foreign satellites by a single PSLV. India’s first moon mission Chandrayaan-1 by PSLV.
2009 – Launch of Radar Imaging Satellite (Risat-2) and Anusat from Anna University (first satellite from an Indian university) by PSLV. Launch of seven satellites by PSLV, including India’s Oceansat.
2010 – Failure of two GSLV missions. Launch of Cartosat-2B, STUDSAT and three small foreign satellites by PSLV.
2011 – Launch of Resourcest-2 and two small satellites by PSLV. Launch of GSAT-12 by PSLV. Launch of Megha Tropiques and three small satellites by PSLV.
2012 – Launch of Risat-1 by PSLV. Launch of French satellite SPOT 6 and Japanese satellite Proiteres.