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Space Centre and Space Agency in India: List of important organizations

Space Centre and Space Agency in India: India is one of the fastest-growing developing nations. It stands as the world’s sixth-largest economy as of 2020 and is expected to be the third-largest economy by 2030. Among the multiple growing sectors, the growth and development of space centre and space agencies in India have shown a tremendous upward curve. 

The number of space centres and space agencies in India have increased across the nation. With this rise in the space agencies, the curiosity and quest to learn science and technology have also increased. In many studies, it has been observed that school and college students are showing interest in exploring subjects like astronomy, astrophysics, space technology, etc.

In this article, we will discuss the list of space centres and space agencies in India. Along with the list of the space centres and space agencies in India, we have also provided the history, details of these institutions, and established personalities in the space sector.

These space centres and space agencies in India are a major topic covered under many competitive examinations like UPSC, SSC, banking, railways, etc. 

Table of Space Centres in India

Given below is a list of major space centres and space agencies in India in tabular format with their headquarter. The table is followed by a description of these agencies with history, missions conducted by them, discoveries and inventions, etc.

S.No. Institution Headquarters
1. Indian Space Research Organisation Bengaluru
2. Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre  Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
3. Satish Dhawan Space Centre  Andhra Pradesh
4. Space Applications Centre  Ahmedabad
5. Master Control Facility  Karnataka
6. Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre  Kerala & Karnataka
7. National Remote Sensing Centre  Hyderabad
8. ISRO Telemetry, Tracking & Command Network (ISTRAC) Bangalore
9. Indian Institute of remote sensing Dehradun
10. North-eastern space application centre Shillong
11. NMRF-National Atmospheric Research Laboratory Tirupati
12. Ammonium perchlorate experimental plant Kerala
13. Downrange station Port Blair
14. Northern RRSC-Regional Remote Sensing Centre Dehradun
15. Eastern RRSC-Regional Remote Sensing Centre Kharagpur
16. ISTRAC ground station Lucknow
17. INSAT master control facility Hassan
18. ANTRIX corporation Bangalore
19. Infrared Observatory Mount Abu
20. Solar Observatory Udaipur

Space Centre and Space Agency in India

  1. ISRO

ISRO is the abbreviation for the Indian Space Research Organisation. It is a national space agency in the country. The organization works under the DoS i.e. Department of Space. The chairman and executive chairman of the department of space is the prime minister and chairman of ISRO respectively. It has been included in the list of top six space centre or space agencies in the world having facilities like cryogenic engines, launch extraterrestrial missions, and operate large fleets of artificial satellites.

Headquarter: Bengaluru, Karnataka
Founded on: 15th August 1969
Chairperson: Mr. Kailasavadivoo Sivan

  • Aryabhata (named after a great mathematician) was the first satellite of India. It was launched with the help of the soviet union on 19 April 1975. 
  • Rohini was the first satellite to be placed in orbit by an Indian-made launch vehicle, SLV-3 in the year 1980.
  • The two other rockets developed by ISRO were the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV). The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle is for launching satellites into polar orbits. And the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle is used for placing satellites into geostationary orbits.
  • Both the PSLV and GSLV have launched numerous communications satellites and earth observation satellites. And satellite navigation systems like GAGAN and IRNSS have been deployed. 
  • The globally popular Chandrayaan-1 was sent to lunar orbit on 22 October 2008. The mission resulted in the discovery of lunar water in the form of ice. 
  • ISRO has also made the country proud by making the country the first nation to succeed in its maiden attempt to reach Mars. And also the first space agency in Asia to reach Mars orbit. The Mars mission was conducted on 5th November 2013.
  • The organization also launched twenty satellites in a single-vehicle on 18th June 2016. 
  • On 15th February 2017, the space agency created a world record by launching one hundred and four satellites in a single rocket (PSLV-C37).
  • In the same year, on the 5th of June 2017, the organization launched its heaviest rocket, Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV-Mk III).
  • The GSLV-MK III placed a communications satellite GSAT-19 in orbit. With this launch, ISRO became capable of launching 4-tonne heavy satellites into GTO. 
  • Chandrayaan-2 was released on 22nd July 2019 to study the lunar geology and the distribution of lunar water.

2. Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC)

The Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre is a space research centre under the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It mainly focuses on rocket and space vehicles for India’s satellite program. The centre had its beginnings as the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) in 1962. It was renamed in honor of Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, often regarded as the father of the Indian space program.

The Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre is one of the main research and development establishments within ISRO. VSSC is an entirely indigenous facility working on the development of sounding rockets, the Rohini and Menaka launchers, and SLV, ASLV, PSLV, GSLV, and GSLV Mk III families of launch vehicles.

Headquarter: Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
Founded on: 21st November 1963
Chairperson: S Somanath

  • Vikram Sarabhai space centre is the leading centre for the development of launch vehicle technology.
  • The space agency works in the fields of aeronautics, avionics, composites, computer and information technology, control guidance and simulation, launch vehicle design, mechanical engineering, mechanisms vehicle integration and testing, propellants polymers and materials, propulsion propellants and space ordnance, and systems reliability. 
  • The space centre is involved in the development of air-breathing vehicles.

3. Satish Dhawan Space Centre

This space centre is known as the Spaceport of  India. It is responsible for providing  Launch  Base  Infrastructure for the Indian Space Programme. This space centre has the facilities for solid propellant processing, static testing of solid motors, launch vehicle integration and launch operations, range operations comprising telemetry, tracking and command network, and mission control centre. The Centre has two launch pads from where the rocket launching operations of PSLV and GSLV are carried out. 

The mandate for the centre is 

(i) to produce solid propellant boosters for the launch vehicle programmes of ISRO 

(ii) to provide the infrastructure for qualifying various subsystems and solid rocket motors and carrying out the necessary tests 

(iii) to provide launch base infrastructure for satellites and launch vehicles.

Headquarter: Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh
Founded on: 1st October 1971
Chairperson: Arumugam Rajarajan

4. Space Applications Centre

This organization is a master in the development of spaceborne, airborne instruments, and their applications for national development and societal benefits. These applications are spread across diverse areas to meet the needs related to communication, navigation, and remote sensing of the country. This centre also designs and develops the optical and microwave sensors for the satellites, signal, and image processing software, GIS software, and many applications for the Earth Observation (EO) program of ISRO. These applications are in diverse areas of Geosciences, Agriculture, Environment and Climate Change, Physical Oceanography, Biological Oceanography, Atmosphere, Cryosphere, Hydrosphere, etc. The facilities at SAC include highly sophisticated payload integration laboratories, electronic and mechanical fabrication facilities, environmental test facilities, systems reliability/assurance group, image processing and analysis facilities, project management support group, and a well-stocked library. 

Headquarter: Ahmedabad, Gujarat
Founded in: 1972
Founder: Yash Pal

  • The communication transponders developed at this Centre for Indian National Satellite (INSAT) and GeoSynchronous Satellite (GSAT) series of satellites are used by government and private sector for VSAT, DTH, Internet, broadcasting, telephones, etc.

5. Master Control Facility

The organization monitors and controls all the geostationary satellites of ISRO. MCF carries out operations related to initial orbit raising of satellites, in-orbit payload testing, and on-orbit operations throughout the life of these satellites. The operations involve continuous tracking, telemetry, and commanding, special operations like eclipse management, station-keeping maneuvers, and recovery in case of contingencies. MCF interacts with the user agencies for effective utilization of the satellite payloads and to minimize the service disturbances during special operations.

Headquarter: Hassan, Karnataka
Founded in: 1982
Chairman: S Parameshwaran

6. Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre

LPSC has two units located in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, and Bengaluru, Karnataka. The organization is working on the development of liquid and cryogenic propulsion stages for launch vehicles and auxiliary propulsion systems for both launch vehicles and satellites

Headquarter: Thiruvananthapuram
Founded on: 1st June 1987
Chairman: Dr. V Narayanan

7. National Remote Sensing Centre

This space centre is the key player in the Earth Observation Programme and Disaster Management Support program. It is responsible for the acquisition, processing, the supply of aerial and satellite remote sensing data and continuously exploring the practical uses of remote sensing technology for multilevel (global to local) applications. It provides the necessary trained manpower through capacity building in remote sensing applications.

Headquarter: Hyderabad, Telangana
Founded on: 1st June 1987
Chairman: Santanu Chowdhury

8. North-eastern space application centre

North Eastern Space Applications Centre (NESAC) was established as a joint initiative of the Department of Space (DOS) and the North Eastern Council (NEC) and came into being on the 5th of September, 2000. The Centre helps in augmenting the developmental process in the region by providing advanced space technology support.

Headquarter: Shillong, Meghalaya
Founded on: 5th September 2000
Chairman: Shri P.L.N. Raju

9. NMRF-National Atmospheric Research Laboratory

This space centre is an autonomous Research Institute funded by the Department of Space of the Government of India. NARL is engaged in fundamental and applied research in the field of Atmospheric Sciences. The facilities provided by the institution are Mie/Rayleigh Lidar, Lower atmospheric wind profiler, optical rain gauge, disdrometer, automated weather stations, etc. were added. 

Headquarter: Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh
Founded in: 1992
Chairman: Dr. A.K. Patra

10. ISTRAC ground station

The full form of ISTRAC is ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network. This organization has established a comprehensive network of ground stations to provide Telemetry, Tracking, and Command (TTC) support to satellite and launch vehicle missions. 

Headquarter: Bangalore, India
Chairman: Mr. V V Srinivasan

11. ANTRIX corporation

It is popularly known as the marketing arm of ISRO. It was incorporated as a private limited company owned by the Government of India for the promotion and commercial exploitation of space products, technical consultancy services, and transfer of technologies.

Headquarter: Bengaluru, Karnataka
Founded on: 28th September 1992
Chairman:  Rakesh Sasibhushan

12. Infrared Observatory

The infrared observatory is also known as the Mount Abu InfraRed Observatory. This organization has a 1.2 m InfraRed Telescope. It is the first major facility in India specifically designed for ground-based infrared observations of celestial objects.

Headquarter:  Sirohi district, Rajasthan
Founded in: 1990

13. Solar Observatory

This Solar Observatory is on an island in Fateh Sagar Lake. The sky conditions at Udaipur are quite favorable for solar observations. Since the observatory is situated amidst a large mass of water, air turbulence which occurs due to ground heating by the sun’s rays is decreased. This improves the image quality and accuracy.

The following research programs are conducted by the solar observatory:

  • Study of solar oscillations on global and local scales
  • Study of impulsive velocity flows on the Sun’s surface taking place during the solar energetic events
  • Investigation of small-scale, magnetic, and velocity anomalies in sunspots using high-resolution spectro-polarimetric observations
  • Study of solar active region magnetic field and it’s the evolution
  • Understanding physics behind magnetic reconnection
  • Construction of coronal magnetic field lines from vector magnetograms and studying their dynamics by employing magnetohydrodynamic simulations
  • Role of magnetohydrodynamic waves in the heating of solar corona and acceleration of solar wind
  • Small-scale transients: a new insight into magnetic reconnection and coronal heating
  • High energy processes in solar eruptive phenomena
  • Investigations of long and mid-term behavior of solar activity cycles
  • Understanding the Initiation, evolution, and propagation of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) in the interplanetary medium
  • Understanding the Space weather effects of CMEs  and resulting geomagnetic storms
  • Solar Instrumentation                   

Headquarter: Udaipur, Rajasthan
Founded in: 1976
Founder: Dr. Arvind Bhatnagar

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