Tag Archives: ISRO

To Use or Not to Use: India and the Military Uses of Space

IAPS Dialogue, University of Nottingham, July 13, 2017

S. Chandrashekhar is Visiting Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bengaluru.

The Indian Space Programme spearheaded by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has largely focused on civilian uses of space technology. The major thrust areas are satellite communications, remote sensing, weather and navigation services. More recently ISRO has ventured into the realms of inter planetary probes with high profile missions to the Moon and Mars. As a consequence there is growing international recognition of India’s emergence as a space power.

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ISRO – Building Bridges Over Troubled Waters

Diplomatist, Vol.5, Issue No.4, April 2017, pp. 23-25

S. Chandrashekhar is Visiting Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bengaluru.

The recent launch of 104 satellites on a single PSLV rocket has evoked widespread admiration and captured the imagination of people across the world. This record breaking feat that follows successful missions to the Moon and Mars has catapulted Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) from a follower country in the space business into the mainstream of world space powers. The architect that made all this possible – the jewel in India’s space crown – is without doubt the indigenously developed and indigenously manufactured Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) launcher. At this moment of triumph and justifiable elation, it is worth taking a step back to reflect on the origins and motivation that led to its development and the turbulent history behind its success.

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International Strategic Review: May 2017

International Strategic Review, Vol.4, Issue.5, May 2017

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Amidst the speculations of a potential shift in India’s nuclear strategy that were rife in the media during the month of April, 2017, Indian Navy successfully tested the supersonic BrahMos, land attack cruise missile. This test has boosted India’s precision strike capability of hitting targets on land from the sea. Followed by this commend-able test, India test fired its intermediate- range ballistic missile Agni-III. The user test was undertaken by the Stra-tegic Forces Command- a missile handling unit of the In-dian Army.
After the success of ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), ISRO is planning to undertake an orbiter mission to Venus and has invited suggestions from scientists for space-based experiments to be conducted in the Venus mission. The space agency is also in the process of increasing its frequency of launches from 7, at present, to 12 per year.

International Strategic Review: March 2017

International Strategic Review, Vol.4, Issue.3, March 2017

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February 2017 was a busy month for Space related activities in China, North Korea, Iran and India. But the real highlight in February was India setting a new record by launching 104 satellites on single rocket. The ISRO has been consistently in the news making great strides with the most cost effective Mars mission in the world and its indigenously built cryogenic engine. Besides, the eleventh edition of Aero India was held at Air Force Station, Bengaluru from 14 to 18 Feb 2017, making way for new international collaborations for India. One of the most significant announcements at Aero India was the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL)’s proposal to revive three aircraft programmes- Saras aircraft, 70 seater aircraft programme and the NM5-100.

India and Space in Current Context | Dr. M Annadurai – Keynote Address at 2016 Indo-US Dialogue

Dr. M. Annadurai, Director, ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC), Bangalore delivered the Keynote Address on October 5, 2016 at the India-US Cooperation on Global Security: Dialogue on Strategic Security Threats of the 21st Century at NIAS Bangalore. Dr. Annadurai spoke on Indian space capabilities and the space situational awareness in the current context. 




Promise of Small Satellites for National Security

Promise of Small Satellites for National Security

Author: Rajaram Nagappa

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To cite: Nagappa, Rajaram. The Promise of Small Satellites for National Security. NIAS Report No. 33-2015. Bangalore: International Strategic and Security Studies Programme, National Institute of Advanced Studies, December 2015, available at http://isssp.in/promise-of-small-satellites-for-national-security/

Small Satellites

India is one of the few spacefaring nations having demonstrated capability in both launch vehicle and satellite domains. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) functioning under the Department of Space is the responsible agency and has established the capability to plan and implement end-to end missions. The main thrust of ISRO is aimed at carrying out satellite-based applications for societal benefits.

These include satellite missions for communication, earth observation, meteorology and regional navigation. ISRO also carries out scientific missions, deep space missions and offers commercial launch services. Technology improvements have been steadily incorporated and in the earth observation satellites, better than one metre resolution has been achieved. Because of the dual use nature of space applications, the security services in the country have derived information useful their purpose from the ISRO space programmes. 

Among the launch vehicles, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) is operational and has a good track record. The Geosynchronous Launch Vehicle (GSLV) should also be reaching operational status shortly and while the GSLV Mk-3 is still in the development stage. ISRO is a civilian organisation and very rightly prioritizes its mandated tasks. Consequently, the space services currently do not cater to the needs of military space, which are evolving now. Though ISRO has the technical capability, there are capacity constraints in both satellite building and launch services.

Envisaged military space requirements will include exclusive communication satellites, electronic intelligence satellites (ELINT) and constellation of optical and radar imaging satellites for continuous intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) activities. Small satellites are playing an important role in space applications. They are faster to build, are cost effective and better as they benefit from the use of latest technologies. Small satellite platforms can be adapted for military missions involving optical and radar imaging applications with good resolution as also for ELINT operations. Many examples of international practices bear this out. For increasing the launch frequency, a small satellite launch vehicle can be configured using stages of the Agni missiles and/or ISRO solid rocket stages. Such a launch vehicle would be capable of placing a satellite of mass 350 kg in a nearly circular 500 km polar orbit – quite adequate for military space missions.

The report surveys the small satellite capabilities to meet military space requirement. Use of available standard small satellite buses is suggested to cut down the development time. Major involvement of industry in both satellite and small launch vehicle realization and integration services is suggested to overcome the capacity constraint. It is also suggested that advantage be taken of mobility and different launch locations to carry out the flight missions.

Evolution of Solid Propellant Rockets in India

Evolution of Solid Propellant Rockets in India, DESIDOC, 2014, pp. xx+201, ISBN: 978-81-8651-451-1

Author: Rajaram Nagappa

To order this book please contact

Ms. Anitha Sarvanan at the Monographs Division, DESIDOC

Email: monographs[at]desidoc[dot]drdo[dot]in

To read the Introduction and Chapter One click here

RN Solid Propellant Book CoverHistorical narration of technological achievements is more an exception than the rule in India. The narration in respect of rocket development in the country generally follows this trend with a few notable exceptions covering the developments in the Indian Space Programme. The development of defence rockets has hardly been touched upon. Propulsion forms a major subsystem of the space launch vehicles and missiles, and today, India boasts of a significant capability and capacity in this discipline.

The solid propellant rocket technology in India is essentially home-grown and has found wide application and adaptation in sounding rockets, launch vehicles, and ballistic missiles. While the requirements of solid propellant rockets for the space programme have reached a maturation phase, the requirement of solid propellant rockets for missile applications are diverse in their characteristics, and performance needs continue on a demand and development trajectory.

This book highlights the development of solid propellant rockets and the main solid rocket subsystems used in the space programme and ballistic missiles with emphasis on the indigenous nature of development.

Table of Contents
Preface xiii
Acknowledgements xv
List of Acronyms xvii
Introduction 1
Chapter 1: The Beginning 5
Chapter 2: The Advent of Solid Rockets to Aid Space Research 9
Chapter 3: The Beginning of Solid Rocketry in Thumba 15
Chapter 4: Early DRDO–ISRO Collaboration 25
Chapter 5: Self-reliance in Solid Propellant Capability 31
Chapter 6: Propellant Development in HEMRL 51
Chapter 7: Rocket Motor Case 61
Chapter 8: Rocket Motors of Launch Vehicles 79
Chapter 9: IGMDP and other Motors of Missile Complex 125
Chapter 10: Composite Products 143
Chapter 11: Solid Propellant Rocket Motor Test Facilities 159
Chapter 12: Interface with Academia 173
Chapter 13: Industry Interaction 193
Index 201
About the Author

Professor Rajaram Nagappa is Head, International Strategic and Security Studies Programme, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Science from Guwahati University and a Diploma of the Madras Institute of Technology in Aeronautical Engineering. His active years were spent at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram where he was responsible for the design, development and realisation of solid propellant motor systems for rockets and satellite launch vehicles of the Indian Space Research Organisation. He retired as the Associate Director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre.


Conducting Academic and Policy Research related to National and International Security Issues
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