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          ISRO’s First Launch Pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre- Sriharikota Range
of advanced technologies to the real problems of man and society, which we find in our country.” These words and thoughts had defined the goals for India’s space programme.
Our space program is driven by space applications. Dr Sarabhai was convinced that no nation could afford to neglect scientific research while concentrating on economic, social and technological development. While the rocket launching station was getting established at Thum- ba in 1963, simultaneously ionospheric research facilities were also established there. It was very clear that while rocket observations could give specific informa- tion, continuous ground-based obser- vations were very much necessary. The work that was started then has resulted in a very good Space Physics Laboratory as part of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram.
Our space programme was con- ceived by Dr Sarabhai for utilising space
applicationsforthebettermentofthelife of common people. We have certainly realisedhisgoalsforlaunchingourown scientific, remote sensing or communi- cation satellites using our own launch vehicles. Today, we have gone beyond what were set out as our goals by him. We have orbited our satellites around the Moon and Mars, and we have launched 210 satellites for other nations.
We had understood that the essence of the national scientific policy was — ‘Applications of science and technology for the betterment of daily life in a self- reliant manner’ and — this is clearly realised by ISRO in terms of providing Operational Space Services using the technology and systems developed and realised in a self-reliant manner. ‘Make in India’ was not just a slogan for us, it was the way of life. One of the most important achievements of the Indian Space Research Organisation has been its indigenously sustained effort over the last six decades. The work of ISRO is not only carried out in its centres but also in institutions of higher learning and thou- sand odd industries.
Today, we have many operational space services. Some of these are:
n Wideband telecommunications
nMobilecommunications nTelemedicine nTelevisionnetworkinganddirectto home broadcasting
n Radio networking
nNavigation and position determination
n Meteorological earth observations
n Meteorological Data Collection from Automatic Weather Stations
n Disaster Warning System
n Remote sensing of earth resources
n Earth imaging using visible spectrum for surveillance
n Microwave radar imaging
n Satellite Aided Search and Rescue
The experience of the COVID-19 pandemic last year has resulted in a sea change in our educational system. We have been able to respond and rise to the occasion by using our communi- cation systems. The delivery of online educational content, the conduct of ex- aminations and the administration of educational facilities have been possible as we have a very robust communica- tion system. The changes introduced will need to be continued for quite some time.
In order to continue to provide these operational space services, we need se- cure unrestricted access to space. This
A rocket part being transported by an ISRO staffer in 1960s
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