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  • venkataramaiah gJul 25, 2021
    Very detailed information will be helpful for a common person as to what is drdo & ideot of dept of space thanks

What is the difference between DRDO and ISRO?

Defence Research and Development Organization, DRDO works to establish globally competitive science and technology base for India and Indian Space Research Organization, ISRO works for space programmes of India- Know the complete difference between the two here
Created On: Dec 14, 2020 16:16 IST
Modified On: Dec 14, 2020 17:19 IST

Defence Research Development Organization and Indian Space Research Organization, ISRO are the two spearheads of Indian Research and Development.  On one hand, DRDO is responsible for artillery and arms of Indian Armed forces, ISRO has the responsibility to make its mark in the world in the field of space and technology.  Both departments use extensive research to make the best products available for national benefit. Take a look at the differences between DRDO and ISRO here. 

What is DRDO?

Defence Research and Development Organization, DRDO is the organization that works to establish globally competitive science and technology base for India and equip the armed forces with state of art weapon systems and equipment as per the requirements laid in front of it. 

DRDO's establishment happened in 1958 when Technical Development Establishment (TDEs) of the Indian Army and the Directorate of Technical Development & Production (DTDP) were combined with the Defence Science Organisation (DSO).

Now the organization is being run by more than 5000 scientists and various personnel. The work of DRDO involves various projects from the development of missiles and arms to electronic warfare systems. 

DRDO: Significance

DRDO's pursuit of self-reliance and successful indigenous development and production of strategic systems and platforms such as 

  1. Agni and Prithvi series of missiles
  2. Light combat aircraft, Tejas 
  3. Multi-barrel rocket launcher, Pinaka
  4. Air Defence System, Akash
  5. A wide range of radars and electronic warfare systems

These have provided a quantum jump to India's military might, generating effective deterrence and providing crucial leverage.

DRDO: Mission 

  1. It designs, develops and produces state-of-the-art sensors, weapon systems and other required equipment for Indian Defence Services.
  2. It provides all technological solutions to the Defence Services and optimises the combat effectiveness.
  3. It aims to promote the well-being of the defence troops of India
  4. It develops the infrastructure and quality manpower for India and builds strong indigenous technology base

What is ISRO?

ISRO stands for Indian Space Research Organization. The Indian Space Agency works under the Department of Space of Government of India and is headquartered in Bengaluru, Karnataka.

ISRO: History

The space activities began in the 1960s in India and Dr Vikram Sarabhai, the founding father of Indian space programme brought up the idea of launching space missions from India. INCOSPAR, Indian National Committee for Space Research was initiated then by Dr Sarabhai and Dr Ramanathan.

It was then between 1975-76 when the Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE) was launched and was hailed as the largest sociological experiment in the world. Kheda Communications Project followed next. It worked as a field laboratory for need-based and locale-specific programme transmission in Gujarat. Later in the 1980s the first Indian spacecraft named Aryabhata was developed and launched using a Soviet Launcher. This was followed by Bhaskara-I & II missions, INSAT, PSLV, GSLV and more.

ISRO: Significance

  1. ISRO aims to design and develop launch vehicles and related technologies for providing access to space for India
  2. It also designs and develops satellites and related technologies for earth's observation, communication, navigation, meteorology and space science
  3. Indian National Satellite (INSAT) programme was developed by ISRO to meet the need for telecommunication, television broadcasting and developmental applications.
  4. ISRO's Indian Remote Sensing Satellite (IRS) programme is used for management of natural resources and observing environment through space-based imagery
  5. It develops space-based applications for societal development and conducts research and development in space science and planetary exploration

ISRO: Achievements 

  1. ISRO has launched various communication satellites like GSAT 7A, GSAT-31 etc and is also the launcher of various operational remote sensing satellites beginning with IRS-1A in 1988. These satellites aim to provide information on agriculture, water resources, urban planning, rural development, mineral prospecting, environment, forestry, ocean resources and disaster management.  Also Read| ISRO to launch Communication Satellite CMS-01 on December 17
  2. ISRO also has some navigation satellites to its hat. These help the civil aviation department to function.  
  3. ISRO is working jointly with Airport Authority of India (AAI) to launch the GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) system. 
  4. ISRO also works on Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS).
  5. ISRO's Mission to Mars: Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) or Mangalyaan was the maiden interplanetary mission of ISRO. It was launched on November 5, 2013, and was successfully inserted into Martian orbit on September 24, 2014, in its first attempt. This achievement of ISRO shook the world
  6. ISRO in 2016 also successfully conducted the Scramjet (Supersonic Combusting Ramjet) engine test. This uses Hydrogen as fuel and the Oxygen from the atmospheric air as the oxidiser.
  7. Apart from these ISRO has PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) and GSLV (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) which are used as satellite-launch vehicles. 

Difference between ISRO and DRDO: Summarised

In the table below one can find the major differences between the two organizations discussed in detail above. 






Ministry of Defence

Department of Space, Govt of India



The 1960s


Govt of India

Dr Vikram Sarabhai


Develops defence weapons, artillery, missiles etc for Indian Armed forces

Develops and builds Space projects, satellites and launch vehicles


BrahMos, Prithvi, Agni, Trishul, Akash

PSLV, GSLV, INSAT, MOM, Chandrayaan


The organization works only for defence purpose, to save the integrity of the Indian Boundaries

Works for domestic purposes too like agriculture, communication system, weather assessment, green area measurement etc to help the general population

Even after 60 years of DRDO formation, India still imports a large share of its defence equipment. It is the second-largest importer of arms according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. However, ISRO has made significant improvement and contributions towards the Space Research and has carved a niche for itself. 

Related| What is Cryogenic Technology? Know about ISRO's biggest cryogenic propellant tank from HAL