Indian Space Centres and Space Agencies

Space Research Centers and Units are spread across India located in various cities. They are to work hard and achieve space goals. Their names, function and their location are vital competitive exams. Therefore, we have compiled this article about Space Research Centers and units in India to give you a headstart. Details like establishment, history, functions, operation, and more are covered below. The primary body of this field is The Department of Space. It is responsible for monitoring and regulating the Indian space program. All the other agencies and unit functions under it. Let us learn more about it.

Space Center in India

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Department of Space, Banglore

In 1961, Jawaharlal Nehru gave the responsibility of space research to the Department of Atomic Energy. Indian National Committee for Space Research was set up in 1962 to organize space programs. It became the advisory body under the India National Science Academy in 1969 and then became the Indian Space Research Organisation the same year. The Government of India formed a Space Commission to introduce the Department of Space.

The Department of Space (DOS) came into being in June 1972. The government of India decided to establish this department for the development of space science. Its main objective includes promoting application-based science for the development of the nation. It is a government body to administer all the space programs. It is responsible for managing space centers and agencies across India. Here is a list of all Space Centres and Agencies functioning in India under DOS –

A. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) HQ, Bangalore

ISRO is the primary research and development unit of the DoS. It is a space agency by the Indian Government. Its main motto is “harness space technology for national development while pursuing space science research & planetary exploration”. ISRO came into being in 1969 with tremendous efforts by scientist Vikram Sarabhai. He was the first chairperson of the INCOSPAR. its headquarter is in Bangalore. A few of the achievements of ISRO include – Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, Aryabhata Satellite, Chandrayaan-1, Mars Orbiter Mission, etc.

ISRO is responsible for managing the following space agencies and institutes –

Indian Space Research Organisation

1. Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram

It is the main technical center of ISRO and the unit for the development of the Launch Vehicle series. It supports the Rohini Sounding Rocket program. VSSc began as India’s Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station but to honor Vikram Sarbahi, the name changed. It came into being in 1963. It is the largest ISRO facility.

This center researches aeronautics, avionics, vehicle integration, chemicals, propulsion, space ordnance, space physics, and systems reliability. The Ammonium Perchlorate Experimental Plant is set up by VSSC near Kochi. The current director of VSSC is Shri S. Somanath.

2. Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC), Thiruvananthapuram / Karnataka

The LPSC takes care of design development, testing, and implementing liquid propulsion packages. The production and testing of liquid stages and liquid engines for launch vehicles and satellites take place here. LPSC, Bangalore on the other hand is responsible for producing precision transducers. The current director of LPSC is Dr. V Narayanan. Since 2014, this faculty has functioned as ISRO Propulsion Complex.

3. Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), Sriharikota

It is a rocket launch center of ISRO. It came into being in 1971 as Sriharikota Range. SDSC was renamed after ISRO’s former chairman Satish Dhawan. It is the main launch base for India’s sounding rockets. The location also sees India’s largest Solid Propellant Space Booster Plant and the Static Test and Evaluation Complex. This center has an integration facility, with suitable interfacing to a launchpad. The current director of SDSC is Shri A Rajarajan.

4. U R Rao Satellite Centre, Bangalore

It is the unit for spacecraft projects and the main satellite technology bases of ISRO. This facility is responsible for implementing indigenous spacecraft in India. The construction of satellites like Aryabhata, Bhaskara, APPLE, and IRS-1Atoo place here. This came into being in 1972 as ISRO Satellite Centre. The current director of this facility is Mr. P. Kunhikrishnan.

5. Space Applications Centre (SAC), Ahmedabad

It is responsible for aspects of the practical use of space technology. It researches on geodesy, satellite-based telecommunications, surveying, remote sensing, meteorology, environment monitoring, etc. This coordinates with Delhi Earth Station that is responsible for the demonstration of various Satellite Communication experiments and operations.

SAC came into being in 1972. The current director of this facility is Shri D K Das. North-Eastern Space Applications Centre, Shillong is an autonomous regional branch to study the practical use of space technology at the regional level.

6. National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), Hyderabad

It is responsible for remote sensing of natural resources and studies aerial surveying. With ground stations at Balanagar and Shadnagar, it facilitates training at Dehradun Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (1966). It is an institute for higher education and training in Remote Sensing specialization. The director of this facility is Shri Santanu Chowdhury.

The Regional Remote Sensing Centres support tasks related to their regions and work at the national level as well. They are responsible for software development, innovation, and packaging specific to user requirements. They also conduct training programs for users in geospatial technology. Nagpur, Delhi, Bangalore, Jodhpur, and West Bengal are the five geographical locations of these centers.

7. ISRO Inertial Systems Unit (IISU), Thiruvananthapuram

It takes care of the Inertial Systems for Launch Vehicles and Spacecraft programs of ISRO. From designing to development, everything takes place here. Inertial Navigation Systems, Attitude Reference Systems, Rate Gyro Packages, and Accelerometer Packages are developed here. They also work on designing the Actuators and Mechanisms for spacecraft. The current director of this facility is Shri D. Sam Dayala Dev.

8. Development and Educational Communication Unit (DECU), Ahmedabad

It is responsible for education, research, and training related to applicational space science. They work on Telemedicine, Tele-Education, and Satellite Communication. The Training and Development Communication Channel falls under DECU. it came into being in 1989. The current director of this facility is Mr. Virender Kumar.

9. Master Control Facility (MCF), Hassan

It is responsible for geostationary satellite orbit raising, payload testing, and in-orbit operations. It has Earth stations and the Satellite Control Centre satellite management under it. MCF came into being in 1982. It three internal divisions – Spacecraft Control Centre, Mission Control Centre, and the Earth station. The construction of the second facility ‘MCF-B’ is going on in Bhopal. The current director of this facility is Shri S Premkumar. The Indian National Satellite System works from here only.

10. ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC), Bangalore

This facility is responsible for software development and tracking telemetry and command. ISTRAC maintains Tracking stations across the country and world with its headquarter in Bangalore. It also takes care of the groundwork operations. The current director of this facility is Mr. V V Srinivasan. The downrange station, Port Blair came into being in 1975. It supports the SLV projects by helping this facility in keeping the radar information updated.

11. ISRO Liaison office, Mumbai

It is responsible for providing research about technical developments in society. It gives inputs from meetings with researchers, government agencies, and countries.

12. Antrix Corporation Limited, Bangalore

It takes care of the promotion and commercial exploitation of space products, technical consultancy services of ISRO. It also facilitates the growth of space industrial capabilities in-country. This engages in space products and services to international customers. The try to build connections with the customers from production till after-sale service. The National Natural Resources Management System works closely with Antrix to study operational remote sensing and meteorological satellites in operation.

13. New Space India Limited (NSIL), Bangalore

It came into being in 2019. This facility of ISRO is responsible for handling the commercial front of the organization. It will focus on high technology space-related activities and promotion of the Indian space program. The current head of this facility is Mr. S. Rakesh.

14. Laboratory for Electro-Optics Systems (LEOS), Bangalore

It develops altitude sensors for ISRO satellites. The high-quality technology like optics for cameras and payloads are developed here. All the ISRO satellite uses them. They work on other developments as well including pixel sensor star tracker, Charge-Coupled Device (CCD) based star tracker, Fiber Optics Gyro, and more. It came into being in 1993. The current director of this facility is Shri A. S. Laxmi Prasad.

B. National Atmospheric Research Laboratory, Tirupati

It is an autonomous society formed for atmospheric research with support from DOS. This Lab is responsible for technology development, observations, data collection, and modeling. It came into being in 1992. The current director of this agency is Dr. A.K. Patra. It researches mainly in the following fields – Radar Development, Ionospheric Space, Atmospheric Structure, Cloud and Convective Systems, Aerosols, Radiation, and more.

C. Defense Space Agency, Bangalore

The Integrated Space Cell was an agency under the Government of India for the security of space-based military systems. This agency now goes by Defence Space Agency. The Defence Space Agency serves the Indian Armed Forces. It operates the space-warfare and Satellite Intelligence assets of India. The DSA shall protect Indian interests in outer space and potential space wars.

D. Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad

It is the National Research Institute for space and allied sciences. It is an autonomous unit of DOS and researches in – Astronomy and Astrophysics, Solar Physics, Planetary Science and Exploration, and more. This came into being in 1947 and the founder was Dr. Vikram Sarabhai.

The current director of this facility is Dr. Anil Bhardwaj. Studies of solar physics take place at Infra-red Observatory at Mt. Abu and Solar Observatory in Udaipur. They have a suitable atmosphere to make an observation.

E. Semi-Conductor Laboratory (SCL), Chandigarh

It is again an autonomous body under DOS. It is a Research & Development facility. SCL works in designing, manufacturing, packaging, Testing of Application Specific Integrated Circuits, and Mechanical System Devices. It is also working on a microelectronics base to enhance the Very Large Scale Integrated circuit domain. It takes care of Fabrication and Component Screening for ISRO. Mainly it focusses on semiconductor fabrication. The current director of this agency is Mr. Surinder Singh.

F. Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST), Thiruvananthapuram

It is Asia’s first Space University that came into being in 2007. The idea is to offer high-quality education in space science and technology. It offers undergraduate, postgraduate, doctoral, and post-doctoral courses. The fields are space science, technology, and applications. It promotes research and development in space studies and innovation in the Indian Space Programme. The current director of this institute is Dr. V.K. Dahwal.

To help readers revise here’s a complete list of Space Research Centres in India. It will cover both government and autonomous organizations with their location –

S. No.Space Centres and AgencyLocation
1Department of SpaceBangalore
2Indian Space Research Organisation HQBangalore
3Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC)Thiruvananthapuram
4Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC)Thiruvananthapuram / Bangalore
5The Ammonium Perchlorate Experimental PlantThiruvananthapuram
6Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC)Sriharikota
7U R Rao Satellite CentreBangalore
8Space Applications Centre (SAC) Ahmedabad
9The Earth StationDelhi
10North-Eastern Space Applications CentreShillong
11National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC)Hyderabad / Balasore
12Indian Institute of Remote Sensing Dehradun
13The Regional Remote Sensing CentresNagpur, Delhi, Bangalore, Jodhpur, and West Bengal
14ISRO Inertial Systems Unit (IISU)Thiruvananthapuram
15Development and Educational Communication Unit (DECU)Ahmedabad
16Master Control Facility (MCF) Hassan and Bhopal
17ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC)Bangalore / Lucknow
18ISRO Liaison officeMumbai
19The downrange stationPort Blair
20Antrix Corporation LimitedBangalore
21New Space India Limited (NSIL)Bangalore
22Laboratory for Electro-Optics Systems (LEOS)Bangalore
23National Atmospheric Research LaboratoryTirupati
24Defense Space AgencyBangalore
25National Natural Resources Management SystemBangalore
26Physical Research LaboratoryAhmedabad
27Semi-Conductor Laboratory (SCL)Chandigarh
28Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST)Thiruvananthapuram
29Solar Observatory Udaipur
30Infra-red ObservatoryMt. Abu

Conclusion

Aspirants preparing for competitive exams like UPSC, RRB, SSC, and more should know this topic well. The Space Centre and Agencies in the country are important for growth and development. This topic is part of the General awareness section of all types of competitive exams. Though it comes under the Science & Technology section in the UPSC exams. This article will help you study Space Research Centers in India, locations, and important details about each research center. Giving it to good read will prove beneficial for your exam results.

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