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The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), under the Department of Space (DOS), is responsible for research, development and operationalisation of space systems in the areas of satellite communications, remote sensing for resource survey, environmental monitoring, meteorological services etc. DOS is also the nodal agency for the Physical Research Laboratory, which conducts research in the areas of space science, and the National Remote Sensing Agency, which deploys modern remote sensing techniques for natural resource surveys and provides operational services to user agencies. India is the only third world country to develop its own remote sensing satellite.
India joined a select group of six nations on October 15, 1994, when the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) successfully accomplished its mission of placing the 800 Kg remote sensing satellite, IRS-P2, in the intended orbit. Earlier in May, the fourth developmental flight of the Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle (ASLV) achieved its mission by placing the 113 Kg SROSS-C2 scientific satellite in a near-earth orbit. India is well on its way to developing a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) capable of putting 2000 Kg satellites into space. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is currently trying to develop an indigenous cryogenic engine for GSLV. A GSLV model has already been tested in wind tunnel.
The INSAT series of satellite launched earlier are performing well and provide vital services for telecommunications, television, meteorology, disaster warning and distress detection. The latest INSAT series include new features like Ku-band transponders and mobile satellite services transponders.
The remote-sensing satellites, launched in 1988 and 1991, have already become the mainstay of the natural resource management system of the country.
The projected launch of advanced remote sensing satellites will not only enhance the scope of their application, but will also offer commercial service to other countries.
The Indian achievement in the application of space-based remote sensing technology has led a US company to enter into an agreement for marketing the data from Indian satellites globally.
India's progress in space technology has attracted worldwide attention and demand, with leasing agreements for marketing of IRS data and supply of space hardware and services. India also believes in co-operation in space with agencies all over the world. A high-level UN team selected India for setting up a UN Centre for Space Science and Technology Education. India is on the threshold of achieving self-reliance in the launch capability. It will be a befitting tribute to the father of the Indian space programme, Dr. Vikaram Sarabhai, whose 80th birth anniversary was observed in August 1996.