ISRO’s Space Programme: Timeline from 1960s to 2019

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is the space exploration agency of the Government of India. Its headquarter is in Bengaluru. It is among the top six government space agencies in the world where various scientists and technical experts of different fields are working for future space missions. Do you know that ISRO has a record of more than 100 successful space missions? Let us read about the timeline of ISRO's space programme.
ISRO Space Programme timeline
ISRO Space Programme timeline

The commercial arm of ISRO is Antrix Corporation and its headquarter is in Bangaluru. Payloads and sensors are developed at the Space Applications Centre in Ahmedabad. In Bengaluru, at U R Rao Satellite Centre, satellites are designed, developed, assembled and tested. Launch vehicles are developed at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram. Therefore, ISRO operates through a countrywide network of centres. 

In India, space research began in 1920s with the studies conducted by the scientists S K Mitra, C V Raman and Meghnad Saha. In 1940s and 50s space related activities started gaining attention nationwide. In our country the space related activities were initiated during the early 1960s when usage of satellites application was in experimental stages in the United States.

Dr. Vikram Sarabhai also known as founding father of space programme recognised the benefits of space technologies in India. In 1962, history of space activities reached its first milestone when Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru with scientist Vikram Sarabhai established the Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR). Further, in 1963, the first rocket was launched from India in November 1963.

ISRO’s timeline of Space Programme are as follows:

1960's: Journey of the formation of ISRO


About Mission


The Indian National Committee for Space Research is formed under the leadership of Vikram Sarabhai who is also known as father of India's space program and physicist Kalpathi Ramakrishna Ramanathan.



The first sounding rocket is launched from Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station in Kerala which is used for probing upper atmospheric regions and space research. It marks the beginning of the Indian space program.



Space Science and Technology Centre (SSTC) was established in Thumba on 1 Jan, 1965.


Satellite Telecommunication Earth Station set up at Ahmedabad on 1 Jan 1967


Experimental Satellite Communication Earth Station set up in Ahmedabad, Gujarat


Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) was formed to harness space technology for national development.



India's Chandrayaan-2 Moon Mission: All you need to know

1970s: Era of launching Satellites began


About Mission


Satish Dhawan Space Centre formed in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.


Department of Space (DoS) established and ISRO brought under it.


On 19 April, first Indian Satellite, Aryabhata was launched into space. It marked a milestone in India's space programme because it was completely designed in the country and launched from a Russian facility.


Satellite Telecommunication Experiments Project


The first experimental remote-sensing satellite which was built in India was launched namely Bhaskara-I. The images send by it are used to study hydrology and forestry and oceanographic studies.



1980s: Satellite launch Vehicle, Communication satellite, remote sensing satellite launched


About Mission


India's first experimental satellite vehicle was launched namely Satellite launch Vehicle-3 (SLV-3) which makes ISRO sixth nation in space program. SLV-3 launched second time with Rohini. The mission was successful.


Rohini placed into orbit.


Communication Satellite Insat-1A was launched


Second developmental flight of SLV-3 placed Rohini into orbit.


A joint manned mission of India and Soviet Union has been launched. In this mission the first Indian cosmonaut, Rakesh Sharma, spends eight days in Russian space station Salyut 7.


ASLV was launched with SROSS-1 satellite.


Indian Remote Sensing Satellite IRA-1A was launched


1990s: Era of PSLV


About Mission


Remote Sensing satellite IRS-1B was launched


ASLV first time was successfully launched


Developed in 1990s and has become the Indian space mission's most reliable workhorse. In 1993, PSLV carried out its first mission and its first successful mission was held in next year. No doubt for next 20 years, it launched several satellites for historic missions like Chandrayaan and Mangalyaan.


Successful launch of PSLV with IRS-P2


PSLV was launched with IRS-P3


PSLV was launched with IRS-1D


PSLV started carrying foreign satellites

About Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)

2000s: GSLV and Chandrayaan-1 important missions was launched


About Mission


GSLV was successfully launched


Kalpana-1 satellite was launched


GSat-2 was launched


Edusat was launched


Launch of Cartosat-1 and Hamsat by PSLV


GSLV was launched with Insat-4C


Cartosat-2 was launched


India's Chandrayaan-1 first moon mission was launched by PSLV. Almost a decade ago, India's first unmanned lunar probe was launched and was a landmark in India's space mission. Do you know that after this ISRO joined an elite list of just six space organisations to send an Orbiter to the moon? A Tricolour was hosted on the moon but ISRO lost contact with Chandrayaan-1 soon after.


Radar Imaging Satellite (Risat-2) was launched


Launch of Cartosat-2B, STUDSAT and three small foreign satellites by PSLV


2010s: Mangalyaan, Chandrayaan-2 important launches


About Mission


Launch of Resourcesat-2 and two small satellites by PSLV


Risat-1 was launched by PSLV


- PSLV-C22 was successfully launched with India's first indigenous Regional Navigation Satellite IRNSS-1A on 1st July, 2013.

- PSLV-C25/Mars Orbiter Mission was launched in 5 November, 2013


- GSLV-D5 was successfully launched on 5 January, 2014.

- India's first interplanetary mission to the planet Mars known as Mars Orbiter mission (MOM) or Mangalyaan was launched. On 24 September, 2014, MOM entered Mars orbit. India became the first country in the world to insert a spacecraft into the Martian orbit in its very first attempt.

- On 18 December, 2014, GSLV Mk-III, the first experimental flight of ISRO's heaviest and upgraded rocket vehicle was launched from Sriharikota.


- India's 4th navigation satellite was launched.

- 100 days of Mangalyaan.

- 5 British satellites are launched by ISRO.

- On 28 September, 2015, India's first dedicated multi-wavelength space observatory Astrosat was successfully launched onboard a PSLV-C30 rocket.

- On 11 November, 2015, latest communication satellite of India GSAT-15 was successfully launched by Ariane-5 rocket from the spaceport of Kourou in French Guiana.

- On 16 December, 2015, PSLV-C29, in its 32 flight, launched six satellites of Singapore. Of these six satellites, TeLEOS-1 is the primary satellite whereas the other five are co-passenger satellites.


- On 20 January, 2016 PSLV-C31 in its 33rd flight launches IRNSS-1E, the fifth satellite of the Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS).

- On 10 March, 2016, PSLV-C32 in its 34rth flight, launches IRNSS-1F, the sixth satellite of the Indian regional navigational Satellite System (IRNSS).This is the thirty third consecutively successful mission of PSLV.

- On 28 April, 2016, PSLV-C33 in its 35th flight, launches IRNSS-1G, the seventh satellite of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) to a Sub-Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (Sub-GTO).

- On 23 May, 2016, RLV-TD was successfully flight tested.

- On 22 June, 2016, PSLV-C34, in its 36 flight launches the 727.5 kg Cartosat-2 Series Satellite for earth observation and 19 co-passenger satellites together weighing about 560 kg at lift-off into a 505 km polar Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO).

- On 28 August, 2016, The first experimental mission of ISRO’s Scramjet Engine towards the realisation of an Air Breathing Propulsion System was successfully conducted.

- On 8 September, 2016, GSLV-F05 is the tenth flight of India's Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), launching INSAT-3DR, an advanced weather satellite, weighing 2211 kg into a Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO).

- On 26 September, 2016, PSLV-C35, in its 37th flight, launches SCATSAT-1 for weather related studies and 7 co-passenger satellites into polar Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO).

- On 6 October, 2016, India's latest communication satellite GSAT-18 was inducted into the INSAT/GSAT system.


On 15 February, 2017, ISRO successfully launched 104 satellites using a single rocket from Sriharikota Space Centre.

On 5 May, 2017, GSLV successfully launches South Asia Satellite.

- On 5 June, 2017, First developmental flight of India's GSLV Mk III successfully launches GSAT-19 Satellites.

- On 23 June, 2017, PSLV-C38 successfully launches 31 Satellites in a single flight.

- On 29 June, 2017, India's GSAT-17 Communication Satellite launches successfully.

- On 31 August, 2017, PSLV-C39 flight carrying IRNSS-1H Navigation Satellite unsuccessful.


- On 12 January, 2018 PSLV successfully launches 31 Satellites in a single flight.

- On 23 March, 2018 ISRO-BHEL tie up for the production of Space Grade Lithium-Ion Cells.

- On 29 March, 2018 GSLV successfully launches GSAT-6A Satellite.

- On 12 April, 2018 PSLV-C41 successfully launches IRNSS-11 Navigation Satellite.

- On 25 April, 2018 GSAT-11 launch rescheduled.

- 22 June, 2018, discovery of a Sub-Saturn like Planet around a Sun-like star.

- On 16 September, 2018 PSLV-C42 launches 2 foreign satellites.

- On 14 November, 2018 GSLV MkIII-D2 successfully launches GSAT-29.

- On 29 November, 2018 PSLV-C43 successfully launches HysIS and 30 customer satellites.

- On 5 December, 2018, GSAT-11 India's heaviest communication satellite launched successfully from French Guiana.

- On 19 December, 2018, GSLV-F11 successfully launches GSAT-7A


- On 25 January, 2019, PSLV-C44 successfully launched Microsat-R and Kalamsat-V2.

- On 6 February, 2019 GSAT-31 India's Communication Satellite launched successfully from French Guiana.

- On 1 April, 2019 PSLV-C45 successfully launches EMISAT and 28 customer satellites.

- On 22 May, 2019 PSLV-C46 successfully launches RISAT-2B

- On 15 July, 2019 Chandrayaan-2 Moon Mission will be launched.


ISRO is India's Research and Development Organisation that serve the nation in achieving self-reliance and in building Launch Vehicles. Recently, on 15 July, 2019 Chandrayaan-2 ISRO's second mission to moon will be launched from Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. Above timeline of ISRO’s Space Programme are mentioned that will help in increasing general knowledge as well as in the preparation of various competitive examinations.

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