The Indian scientists designed their first satellite at the at Bangalore with the assistance of Soviet scientists. It was named Aryabhatta and was launched into orbit on the 19th April, 1975. It was named after the great Indian astronomer and mathematician of the fifth century. The 360kg. satellite began orbiting the earth at an altitude of about 600kms after it was launched by Soviet Intercosmos rocket from a Soviet cosmodrome. Its launching marked a significant event in India’s advancement towards space technology and self-reliance. This historic event placed India at eleventh position among the nations of the world, who have successfully orbited their satellite, namely USSR, USA, Britain, Canada, Australia, Japan, Italy, West Germany, France and China. So sending of Aryabhatta into orbit earned a place of prestige for India in the world community, and at the same time it also demonstrated the capabilities of Indian scientists.
India has also worked in the field of communication satellites, which have solved the problems involved in the spanning large areas. In India the problem of illiteracy and poverty can be solved through communication satellites.
India’s second satellite Bhaskara, named after an ancient Indian astronomer was put into orbit on June 9, 1979, from a launching pad in the Soviet Union. The satellite weighed 444 kg. The primary mission of Bhaskara was to collect information on India’s land, water, forest and ocean resources. It was designed and built by Indian Space Scientists at Satellite Centre at Bangalore. Bhaskara’s experiment was useful in the fields of forestry, hydrology, snow cover and snow melt, geology, soils and land use and ocean surface studies.
Later on a rocket SLV-3 was used to put a satellite into orbit in July. 1980. The 35 kg. satellite named Rohini was shot into space from Sriharikota. The Rs, 205 crore SLV-3 designed to put the satellite into orbit was purely experimental. The aim was to test fully integrated launch vehicle. The satellite Rohini was mainly intended to measure the parameters of the various subsystem of launch vehicle. Though Rohini was India’s third satellite, but it was the first to be launched from the Indian soil and using an Indian vehicle.
In 1981 India’s first three axis stabilized experimental communication satellite APPLE (Ariane Passanger Payload Experiment) was placed into orbit by European Space Agency rocket form Kouron in French Guyana,
This was an extremely different manoeuvre, the capability of which has hitherto been demonstrated only by the USA, the USSR, West Germany, France and Canada. It was a crucial event for India as the satellite was the foreunner of multi-purpose communications satellites.
Later in Nov., 1981 India’s second observation satellite Bhaskara II was successful ly launched by an Intercommons Rocket from the Soviet Cosmodrome in Volgagrad. The T. V. cameras in Bhaskara II were designed to provide black and white and infra red pictures. Sea surface temperature and water content in the air which are the key factors in the weather forecasting were measured by the micro-waves radiometers. Therefore Bhaskara II represented a matured demonstration of indigenous capability to design and fabricate satellite system.
After that on April 10, 1982 India launched a multi-purpose satellite INSAT-IA. It was successfully shot into the orbit from the Kennedy Space Centre at Cape Canaveral. This time India became the sixth nation in the world to have its own operational domestic communication satellite. The satellite has a life span of seven years, but on Sept. 6,1982 it went dead completely upsetting the tele-communication, television and meteorological programme.
INSAT-IB was sent in the space on board the US Pace shuttle challenger in August 1982 to be ejected into pace. It developed a serious snag in deployment of its solar array, but scientists were able to correct the defect and made the satellite fully operational in Oct. 1983. INSAT-B brought about a resolution in India’s mass communication, meteorology and telecommunication network.
Another advancement was made in April 1984, when India became the 14th nation in the world when Sqn. Ldr. Rakesh Sharma became India’s first man in space when he went abroad Soyuz T-II spaceship from the Baikonour cosmodrome in the USSR along with Soviet Cosmonauts. Soyuz T-II docked with the orbiting Soviet Space Station Salyut-7 for seven days doing experiments in space.
India since then had sent a number of satellites in the space quite successfully.