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Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)

Despite its limited resources, India has and is continuing to develop a broad-based space program with indigenous launch vehicles, satellites, control facilities, and data processing. Since its first satellite was orbited by the USSR in 1975 and its first domestic space launch was conducted in 1980, India has become a true space-faring nation and an example to other Eurasian countries wishing to move into the space age. Today's Indian remote sensing, communications, and meteorological satellites are comparable to many similar space systems operated by more affluent countries, and by the end of the decade India may be one of only a half dozen countries/organizations with a geostationary launch capability.

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) was established in 1969 and is currently under the Department of Space. The Chairman of ISRO since 1984, Prof. U. R. Rao, stepped down and was replaced in April, 1994 by Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan, who also carries the titles Secretary of the Department of Space and Chairman of the Space Commission. With headquarters at Bangalore, ISRO now boasts of a workforce of approximately 17,000 (References 25-27).

The corporate headquarters of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is located in Bangalore, but, activities related to satellites, launch vehicles, and applications are carried out at numerous centers throughout the country. The development of the sensors and payloads is the responsibility of ISRO's Satellite Application Center (SAC) in Ahmedabad. ISRO Satellite Center (ISAC) in Bangalore is responsible for the design, development, assembly, and testing of satellites. Vikram Sarabhai Space Center (VSSC), at Tiruvananthapuram, is responsible for launch vehicles. Liquid propulsion modules, including cryogenic engines, are developed at the Liquid Propulsion Systems Center located near Tiruvananthapuram. Satellite launching takes place from Sriharikota, north of Madras, referred to as SHAR. Hassan, near Bangalore, is where the Master Control facilities for satellite station keeping are located. The reception and processing facilities for remote sensing data are available at National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA), in Hyderabad.

The annual ISRO space budget period runs from 1 April to the following 31 March. From the 1993-1994 budget year, appropriations increased by about 12% to nearly 8 billion Rupees (compared with approximately 5 billion Rupees for 1992-1993) with an even sharper increase forecast for the following year. Slightly more than 40% of the annual outlays are designated for launch vehicle development and operations. A separate government allotment is given to the Antrix Corporation which is not yet self-sufficient.

In May 1992 the U.S. Department of State imposed trade sanctions against ISRO, based on its missile proliferation activities. In part, these sanctions prohibited ISRO from receiving U.S. exports for which a validated export license or reexport authorization was required for a two year period.


25. J. Fairall, "India's Global Aims", Space, January-February 1995, pp. 17-18.

26. "Newsmaker Forum", Space News, 20-26 February 1995, p.22.

27. L. David, "India's Space Program Picks Up the Pace', Aerospace America, August 1995, pp. 32-35, 45.

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