1.1       Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR):


            INCOSPAR is one of the committees of the Indian National Science Academy (INSA) which is the national adhering organisation to the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) and a member of ICSU Council. Prof. G.S. Agarwal is the present Chairman of INCOSPAR which has the following terms of reference:


 (i)        to recommend and promote national activities and international co-operation in space exploration and space research.


(ii)        to provide necessary liaison with the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) of ICSU, and encourage participation in international activities which contribute to the peaceful uses of outer space.


1.2       Space Commission, Department of Space and Indian Space Research Organisation:


            The Space Commission and the Department of Space (DOS) were established by the Government of India in 1972 to promote development and application of space science and technology for identified national socio-economic objectives. The Space Commission lays down the framework of important space activities and advises the Government on major policies related to India’s space programme. DOS functions directly under the Prime Minister of India. Dr.K.Kasturirangan is the present Chairman of the Space Commission, Secretary to the Government of India in DOS and Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).


            The Indian Space Programme is directed towards the goal of self-reliant use of space science and technology for national development, its main thrusts being: (i) satellite telecommunications, TV and radio broadcasting (ii) satellite remote sensing for resource survey and management, environmental monitoring and meteorological services, and (iii) development and operationalisation of indigenous satellites and launch vehicles for providing these services.


            DOS is responsible for carrying out space research and related activities in the country through ISRO’s constituent units and three major autonomous institutions namely, National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA), Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) and National MST Radar Facility (NMRF). DOS is also the nodal department for implementation of the ongoing National Natural Resources Management System (NNRMS). As the research and development wing of DOS, ISRO is responsible for the overall implementation, execution and future projections related to the country’s space programme and acts as the sponsoring agency for participation of Indian scientists in collaborative space research programmes with foreign space agencies. The activities of space science research, development of space technology for applications in the areas of communications, remote sensing and meteorology are implemented by ISRO through its various Centres/Units. The overall planning and co-ordination of the programme is directed from the DOS and ISRO Headquarters situated at Bangalore. Following are the major establishments of DOS carrying out research and development activities under the space programme.


·         Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram

·         ISRO Satallite Centre (ISAC), Bangalore

·         Space Applications Centre (SAC), Ahmedabad

·         SHAR Centre, Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh

·         Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) with its facilities at Bangalore, Thiruvananthapuram and Mahendragiri

·         Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad

·         National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA), Hyderabad

·         National MST Radra Facility (NMRF), Gadanki

·         Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (IIRS), Dehra Dun

·         Development and Educational Communication Unit (DECU), Ahmedabad

·         ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) with its stations at Bangalore, Lucknow, Sirharikota, Port Blair and Mauritius

·         ISRO Inertial System Unit (IISU), Thiruvananthapuram

·         INSAT Master Control Facility (MCF), Hassan, Karnataka


            The Antrix Corporation Limited, Bangalore established in 1992, is a wholly owned Government of India company for marketing space products and services. Various programme offices in different areas function as a part of the Central Management at ISRO HQ/DOS, Bangalore. ISRO’s sponsored research programme (RESPOND), Technology Transfer and Utilisation, NNRMS, Regional Remote Sensing Service Centres (RRSSC) and space science research activities including balloon, rocket and satellite experiments, multi-agency sponsored  projects in the area of space sciences are all co-ordinated from ISRO HQ. ISRO’s Advisory Committee for Space Sciences (ADCOS)  represented by space scientists of the country, recommends the conduct of various space science research activities and advises ISRO on the long term planning and promotion of space science research in the country. The detailed co-ordination and implementation of the space science programmes are assigned through the Space Science Office at ISRO HQ which also manages the functions of the Space Science Data Centre (SSDC) at Bangalore.


1.3            Research sponsored by ISRO (RESPOND):


            Apart from the in-house research and development activities and co-ordination of various national level space science projects, ISRO has a sponsored research programme called RESPOND aimed at providing financial assistance to research and development projects relevant to the Indian space programme at the universities and academic/research institutions in India. RESPOND promotes research and educational activities in space sciences and related subjects at academic levels and strives for closer interaction between the scientific and engineering staff of ISRO and the academicians of universities. The RESPOND support to reseach  projects is provided to cover expenses of research fellowships, special equipment, components, travel etc. Since its inception in 1976, a large number of projects have been funded in more than 100 institutions/ universities. Based on the experience of operating the RESPOND projects at different institutions, a few space technology cells (STC) have been established at premier academic institutions and universities to carry out advanced technology research programmes which can be undertaken jointly with ISRO.


1.4       Centres for Space Science Research in India: 

                        Although ISRO is the prime organisation entrusted with the responsibility of executing the overall space programme of the country, the space science research is being undertaken at large number of universities, research institutions and often promoted and jointly sponsored by agencies outside ISRO. Within ISRO system, space science research is being carried out at Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Udaipur Solar Observatory (USO),  Space Physics Laboratory (SPL) of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Technical Physics Division of ISRO Satellite Centre. (ISAC) and at the National MST radar Facility (NMRF). A list of the institutions currently involved in space science research is given in the table at the end of the report. In addition to supporting the space science research activities at its own units mentioned above, and at various academic and research institutions outside through its RESPOND programme, ISRO also initiates and promotes space scienece research activities in the country through its ADCOS system.




            Some of the important developments of Indian space programme during the period are highlighted below:


2.1       Indian Remote Sensing Satellites (IRS):


            Indian Remote Sensing satellite (IRS) system, now comprising of five satellites, IRS-1B, IRS-1C, IRS-1D, IRS-P3 and IRS-P4 (OCEANSAT), forms the largest constellation of remote sensing satellites in the world offering a variety of data in different spectral bands and various spatial resolutions. The successful launch of PSLV-C2 on May 26, 1999 from SHAR, Sriharikota, putting into orbit for the first time three satellites simultaneously – IRS-P4, KITSAT-3 of Republic of Korea and DLR-TUBSAT of Germany is a significant achievement. OCEANSAT has opened up new vistas for ocean remote sensing. The Ocean Colour Monitor (OCM) on board the satellite provides data on chlorophyll concentration, phytoplankton, atmospheric aerosols and suspended sediments in water. The other instrument, Multifrequency Scanning Microwave Radiometer (MSMR), provides data related to sea surface temperature, wind speed, cloud water content in the atmosphere.


2.2       Indian National Satellite (INSAT):


        INSAT system is one of the largest domestic satellite communication system in the world today comprising of four satellites, INSAT- 2B, INSAT- 2C, INSAT -2E and INSAT -2DT.  INSAT-2E, the last satellite of the second generation INSAT–2 series, launched on April 3, 1999, is the most advanced satellite built by India so far. The satellite is providing the intended telecommunication and television services as well as meteorological imaging from its high resolution Charge Coupled Device (CCD) camera in addition to the regular Very High Resolution Radiometer (VHRR) in visible and IR bands and the water vapour channel. Besides providing telecommunication and television services, a channel of INSAT is being used for satellite based training and developmental communication.


2.3           Stretched Rohini Satellite Series-C (SROSS-C):


            The satellite SROSS-C2 weighing about 113 kg and successfully launched on May 4, 1994 by ASLV-D4 carries two scientific payloads consisting of scintillation detectors for measuring cosmic gamma-ray bursts and retarding potential analysers for measuring electron/ion densities and temperatures in the F-region ionosphere. Both the experiments are functioning well and providing valuable data.


        Retarding Potential Analyser (RPA) aeronomy payloads of Electron and Ion RPAs have completed 7 years of successful operation in the orbit. The Electron and Ion RPAs have yielded excellent quality of ionospheric plasma data set related to F-region ionospheric electron and ion temperatures, total ion densities, irregularity structures in electron and ion densities, composition of positive ions and supra-thermal electron flux upto 30 eV along the satellite orbit over the Indian region covering the equatorial and low latitudes. Having operated the RPA payloads for data collection normally during two orbits a day, so far data for more than 4400 orbits has been collected during past 7 years over the Indian region. This period covers the periods of minimum solar activity in 1996 to peak of high solar activity presently going on thereby covering the full solar activity. Apart from regular data collection, some coordinated campaigns with MST radar, Leonid Meteor Shower events, satellite beacon observations and Ionsonde were also organised.


The raw data from the satellite is received at the ISRO telemetry station and then processed at NPL, New Delhi for its scientific usage. NPL along with seven universities are involved in scientific analysis of the RPA data.


2.4           National Natural Resources Management System (NNRMS):


                NNRMS functions with DOS as the nodal agency and with the active participation of various State and Central Departments/Agencies. The availability of data from IRS satel­lites on a continuous and assured basis has enabled taking up a number of nation-wide remote sensing application projects. Inte­grated Mission for Sustainable Development (IMSD) initiated in 1992 has been launched in 174 districts of the country aimed at generation of locale-specific prescription for development at micro level.


2.5           National Mesosphere-Stratosphere-Troposphere (MST) Radar Facility (NMRF):


            An  ultra-sensitive MST radar operating at 53 MHz has been established as a national facility at Gadanki (13.5oN, 79.2oE) near Tirupati, India. This radar is capable of high resolution mapping of atmospheric turbulence and vector wind fields. As the radar is located at a low latitude station in tropical region of India it provides a vital link in the currently operating global network of such MST Radars.


        The radar was commissioned for scientific experiments in March 1994. It has successfully completed four years of operation. A number of experiments have been carried out by the user scientists from various R&D institutions and universities covering a wide range of problems in atmospheric dynamics, coupling processes as well as ionospheric irregularities.


        To fill up the gaps in the lower troposphere (< 4 km) and in the 25-60 km height regions, two new facilities viz. Lower Atmospheric Wind Profiler (LAWP) and a Mie/Rayleigh Lidar have been installed at NMRF in collaboration with Communication Research Laboratory (CRL), Japan. The LAWP and LIDAR systems were commissioned during September 1997 and April 1998 respectively. The LAWP is an ideal system for studies of boundary layer which falls in the near field region and hence not covered effectively by the MST radar. The Lidar also complements the MST radar observations by providing information on aerosol concentrations between 10-30km and on temperatures above 30km.


        The development of a new signal and data processing system for the MST radar is in progress to enhance the data acquisition and on-line processing capabilities of Indian MST Radar and also to extend the radar operations to incoherent back-scatter mode.


            NMRF, Sri Venkateswara University (SVU), Tirupati and ISRO organised the 8th International Workshop in Technical and Scientific aspects of MST radar (mst8) at Bangalore. This workshop was preceded by a School on Atmospheric Radar (SAR) which was held at SVU and at NMRF, Gadanki. A total of 130 scientists and engineers, 52 of them from 17 countries outside India, participated in mst8. An international steering group consisting of S. Fukao, M.F. Larsen, C. H. Liu, A. P. Mitra and J. Roettger, with the latter as chairman, guided the formulation of workshop programme. The proceedings of mst8 have been published as a special issue of Solar Terrestrial Energy Programme (STEP) Handbook.

2.6    Indian X-ray Astronomy Experiment (IXAE)


The successful launch of IXAE payload onboard the Indian satellite IRS-P3 by PSLV from Shriharikota range on March 21, 1996 is a landmark event in the history of experimental high energy astrophysics in India. The payload consists of (a) 3 pointed mode proportional counters (PPC) and (b) an X-ray sky monitor (XSM). The PPCs are gas filled (Argon/methane) operating in the energy range 2-20 keV with a narrow FOV of 2.3°x2.3°. IRS-P3 is a sun synchronous satellite placed in a polar orbit of about 830 km. The satellite has a unique combination of sensors for remote sensing of the earth resources and X-ray astronomy and it is operated in both earth and stellar pointing modes. The PPCs are 3 layers of multi-wire proportional counters each having 18 cells with veto layer. Charged particles are rejected electronically by means of mutual anti-coincidence. The X-ray Sky Monitor (XSM) is a pin-hole camera of 1 cm2 hole placed over one dimensional position sensitive proportional counter with FOV 90°x90°operating in the energy range 2-10 keV. A number of X-ray binary stars including Cyg X-1, GRS 1915+105 and Vela X-1 have been observed by IXAE. Cyg X-1 source has been observed in detail by computing its Power Density Spectrum (PDS) showing the hard and the soft states. During soft state (high state) the intensity of source almost doubles. The temporal variations of milliseconds to minutes are also observed characteristics of black hole binaries. Observations of GRS 1915+105 showed QPOs with a frequency of 0.72 Hz and intensity variations by a factor of 2 to 3 within 100ms.  More observational data being analysed using IXAF experiment would help in understanding a number of problems in contemporary astrophysics and cosmology.

2.7    ISRO’s Advisory Committee for Space Science (ADCOS):


            The Advisory Committee for Space Science (ADCOS) has been reconstituted with the formation of two sub-committees (ADCOS-1 and ADCOS-2) responsible for specific areas of space science research programmes. Several  meetings of these committees have been held to review space science and  related activities conducted so far and to discuss future projects. A number of recommendations on undertaking space borne missions on high energy astronomy, climate variability and planetary science/exploration have been made for the consideration of support by ISRO.

2.8    I-STEP

            The observational period of Indian Solar Terrestrial Energy Programme (I-STEP) as formulated by five scientific working groups has been completed. An extensive campaign on equatorial sporadic layer and electrojet has been carried out with multiparameter ground based measurements from different Indian stations. Interesting events on successive occurrence of counter electrojet and blanketing sporadic-E have been observed. Besides Department of Space, the programme has the participation and sponsorship of Department of Science and Technology (nodal agency), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and University Grants Commission.


2.9            INDOEX


        Indian Ocean Experiment (INDOEX), the multi-agency programme with DOS as the nodal agency has successfully completed two field campaigns mainly consisting of ship borne experiments/observations. The programme has provided valuable insight/inputs towards understanding of climate and monsoon besides aerosol characterisation over the Indian Ocean region. INDOEX India programme has been reviewed and the scientific achievements consolidated. Indian participation in INDOEX is jointly sponsored by DOD, DOE, DOS, DST and CSIR with DOS as the nodal agency.




            The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has necessary expertise and facilities for development, fabrication and testing of payloads for scientific experiments onboard Indian Satellites. These facilities are available to Indian scientists in other laboratories and organisations desirous of performing space science experiments. Rocket and balloon payloads for space science experiments have been developed and fabricated at ISRO, NPL, PRL, TIFR, CESS, Gujarat and Poona Universities. The payload integration and test facilities and the launch of sounding rockets are provided by ISRO. The payload integration and launch for balloon experiments are carried out from national balloon facility at Hyderabad. Satellite payloads relevant to space science research have been designed and developed at NPL, SAC, TIFR, PRL and ISAC.


3.1           Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS):


            TERLS, now a unit of SHAR Centre was established as a UN sponsored Sounding Rocket Range in 1963, and is situated near Thiruvananthapuram city on the coast of Arabian Sea. The magnetic equator passes very close to Thumba (9oN, 77oE). The location of Thumba offers unique advantages for low latitude upper atmospheric and iono­spheric studies which are of special importance in the region of magnetic equator. The range at present has capabilities of launching meteorological and medium sized sounding rockets for climatological, geophysical and astronomical studies. The range of rockets include RH-200, RH-300 MKII and RH-560 MKII. Apart from India, scientists from France, Germany, Japan, USA and USSR (Russia) have participated in many scientific experiments using rockets from this range.


3.2            Sriharikota Rocket Launching Station (SHAR):


            SHAR (13oN, 80oE) is located on the east coast of the country about 100 km north of Chennai city. It has facilities to launch large multistage sounding rockets capable of probing the F-region of the ionosphere. Necessary facilities for launching satellites have also been established here.


3.3       Balasore Rocket Launching Station (BRLS):


            This facility for launching indigenous meteorological rock­ets of 200mm diameter was set up at Balasore (21oN,87oE) in Orissa state on the east coast of India primarily to meet the require­ment of international MONEX-79 campaign. The facility is operational since January 1979 and synoptic meteorological rocket launches have been continued till March, 1995 with funding contributions from the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Council of Scientific and Industrial Re­search (CSIR) and ISRO. The rocket launching station can be operated for meteorological rocket soundings in campaign mode if such a need arises.


3.4           National Balloon Facility:


            The TIFR-ISRO National Scientific Balloon Facility at Hyderabad (18oN, 79oE) is a premier centre in the country to carry out research in space astronomy and atmospheric sciences. It undertakes and caters to all aspects of scientific ballooning, namely, the balloon engineering, balloon design and fabrication, radio telemetry, telecommand, flight instrumentation, the balloon launch and all the related research and development including the development of a special balloon grade polythelene film. This facility is funded by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and Department of Space (DOS).


            In the area of balloon fabrication, a Reefing Sleeve has been included in all the balloons made at TNSBF. Reefing sleeves prevent the undeployed portion of the balloon from spreading out and thus adds to the safety of the balloon in flight. The balloon launch vehicle is built around a turbo charged twin axle 25 tonne Leyland truck. In the area of balloon support instrumentation, a microprocessor based PCM telemetry decoder, a PC based on-line telemetry decoding and data analysis system have been implemented. The real-time telemetry data is stored on hard disks.


3.5           Magnetic Observatories:


            The Magnetic Observatories operated by Indian Institute of Geomagnetism (IIG) are located at Thiruvanathapuram, Annamalainagar, Pondicherry, Alibag, Nagpur, Ujjain, Shillong, Gulmarg and Vishakapatnam. The INTERMAGNET unit at Alibag provides 1 minute data in the three components H, Z, D for the real time monitoring of the magnetospheric ring currents. These are sent regularly to National Geomagnetic Information Centre, USA.


            Indian magnetic data are regularly published as processed hourly values, after incorporating all the corrections. Quarterly prompt magnetic data report, depicting equatorial electrojet strength is prepared and supplied to interested scientists and institutions.


            The World Digital Data Centre (WDC-C2) operates from IIG, Mumbai. The data centre is equipped with terminals and PCs to promote effective use of the data by users. Software routines for analysis of the data have been developed and hardware back up for data storage and retrieval are augmented through the introduction of CD-ROM reader and scanner.


3.6         Decametre Wave Radio Telescope:


            The Raman Research Institute, Bangalore, in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore, operates a decametre wave radio telescope at Gouribidanur (14oN) near Banga­lore. The array is made up of 1000 dipoles oriented in the east-west direction and arranged in the form of the letter "T" with a 1.4km arm and 0.45km southern arm. The array operates at a cen­tral frequency of 34.5 MHz and has an effective collecting area of around 20,000 m2. The beam can be steered electronically in the north-south direction by ±45o and the half power beam widths in the east-west and north-south directions are 32 arc minutes and 50 arc minutes respectively.


3.7    Millimeter Wave Telescope:


            The 10.4m millimetre wave telescope is operational at the campus of Raman Research Institute (RRI), Bangalore. The telescope has been successfully tested for operations at 3.5 mm and 13.5 mm wavelengths.


3.8          Ooty  Radio Telescope (ORT):


          The Ooty Radio Telescope (ORT) is a cylindrical paraboloid 530m long in N-S direction and 30m wide in the E-W direction. The effective collecting area is about 800m2. The unique feature of the telescope is that the long axis is aligned in the north-south direction along a hill with a natural slope of 11º, which is equal to the latitude of the place. Thus by mechanical rotation of the telescope in the E-W direction a source in the sky can be tracked continuously for about 9¹⁄2 hours. The pointing of the telescope in declination is achieved by electronic phasing of 1056 dipoles along the 500m long focal line of the parabolic reflector. The ability to track a source with such a large collecting area makes the ORT one of the most powerful in the world. The telescope operating at 326.5 MHz and situated in the hills of Nilgiris near Ooty in South India, started functioning in early 1970. This facility is managed and run by TIFR.


3.9              Giant Metre-wave Radio Telescope (GMRT)



       The Giant Meter –wave Radio Telescope (GMRT), an aperture synthesis array consisting of 30 fully steerable parabolic dishes of 45-m diameter each, is set up about 80km north of Pune as a national facility for frontline research in radio astronomy in the frequency range 38 MHz to 1420 MHz. This is a major new instrument designed to fill the existing worldwide gap in powerful radio telescopes operating at meter wavelengths. Two of the primary objectives of the telescope are to detect the highly redshifted 21cm line of neutral hydrogen from protoclusters or protogalaxies in the early epochs of the universe before galaxy formation and to detect and study a large number of millisecond pulsars in an attempt to detect the primordial background of gravitational radiation.


        Over the last year, routine observations of a variety of objects have been carried out using the GMRT with typically 2-3 days of the week reserved for maintenance and system tests. The data quality and reliability of the antenna systems and the 30-antenna correlator system has been continuously improved and maps with a rms noise of a few mJ and dynamic range of 500 and greater are being produced at 325 MHz and higher frequencies. The telescope has been cycled through all its frequencies, spending typically 4-6 weeks at each frequency. Objects like nearby galaxies, giant radio galaxies, cluster of galaxies, supernova remnants and the galactic centre have been mapped at a number of the GMRT frequencies. Extensive spectral line observations have been made of hydrogen and recombination lines in galactic and extragalactic radio sources. However at the lower GMRT frequencies, the data quality has been indifferent, being affected by interference, ionosphere, instrumental effect and other problems. Single and dual frequency pulsar observations have also been made using the GMRT Array Combiner and the DSP based coherent/incoherent dedispersion machine.


3.10     Udaipur Solar Observatory (USO):


USO was initiated in 1975 on an island in the middle of a large lake in Udaipur for solar optical observations. USO operates its solar telescopes with the primary aim of obtaining high resolution observations of various phenomena occurring in outer layer of the solar atmosphere, particularly, in the solar photosphere and chromosphere. The scientific activity at USO broadly consists of the following components: (i) Designing, fabrication and modernistion of observational tools, i.e., telescopes and back-end equipment, digital image acquisition, processing and dissemination, (ii) coordinated solar observational campaigns, both at national and international levels, (iii) full disk solar observations for solar flare-patrol, and solar weather-forecasting programmes, and (iv) high resolution observations, detailed analysis and modeling of important solar events with the goal of understanding the basic physics involved in phenomena of flares, filament/prominence formation and their stability; surges and sprays, filament eruptions etc.   


            The optical telescopes and other facilities include the following (i) 12-foot solar spar telescope with 25 cm aperture telescope for observing small scale high resolution chromospheric structures, and longitudinal component of the solar magnetic fields, (ii) 6-foot Razdow telescope for full disk H-alpha synoptic observations of solar activity, and (iii) 15 cm aperture Zeiss Coude telescope in conjunction with multi-slit Littrow spectrograph for spectral study of solar prominences, flares and active regions. These facilities have been augmented with the following new instruments: (i) USO Solar video magnetograph, (ii) The GONG (Global Oscillation Network Group) full disk dopplergraph and magnetograph facility.



3.11          IMD Data Processing System:


            The data processing system installed in India Meteorological Department (IMD) during 1992 for reception and processing of INSAT-2 meteorological data continued to operate satisfactorily on an operational basis. Meteorological data received from INSAT-1 and 2 satellites are processed for dissemination of the data products to the users. The system has improved the quality of the Cloud Motion Vectors (CMVs) generated from INSAT satellites. The system also derives Outgoing Longwave Radiation (OLR) and the Quantitative Precipitation Estimates (QPE) from INSAT data.


3.12     APT Ground Station:


            A network of  seven APT stations of the IMD at Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Poona, Guwahati, Vishakapatnam and Bhubaneswar has been operating for the reception of low resolution cloud imagery in the visible and infrared channels from polar orbiting meteorological satellites of NOAA series of the USA. These cloud pictures are utilised for weather analysis and forecasting services.


3.13     HRPT Ground Stations:


            Ground equipment for the reception of Advanced Very High Resolution (AVHRR) data installed at New Delhi  and Chennai obtains pictures for operational use in the analysis of different weather systems over India and adjoining areas. These pictures are extremely useful for analysis of the tropical cyclones, severe local storms etc. The data provided over 5 different spectral channels has a finer ground resolution of 1.1km at sub-satellite point both in visible and infra-red channels. New High Resolution Picture Transmission (HRPT) system for receiving  NOAA-15/16 data from AMSU-A and AMSU-B along with ITOVS has been installed at IMD,New Delhi.


3.14     Optical Telescopes:


            Major optical observatories of India are run by the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) at Kavalur, by Uttar Pradesh Solar Observatory (UPSO) at Nainital and by Centre for Advanced Studies in Astronomy (CASA) of Osmania University at Japal-Rangapur near Hyderabad. Brief description of the telescopes is given here.


* The Japal-Rangapur Observatory (JRO) of the Osmania University


            This Observatory (695 m above msl) near Hyderabad has a 48-inch telescope that was commissioned in 1968. It can be used as a Newtonian system, a folded Cassegranian (Nasmyth) system, a Coude system or as a Baker system. A Meinel Spectrograph is available for use at the Nasmyth focus in addition to a number of standard items of equipment.


* The Uttar Pradesh State Observatory (UPSO)/Uttaranchal State Observatory


        The principal equipments at the Observatory are its telescopes. The State Observatory, which was started with a 25-cm f/15 (Cooke, UK) refractor, today has four telescopes of 104-cm, 56-cm, and 38-cm apertures, for cometary, planetary, galactic and extra -galactic research and a few telescopes for solar research. The 25-cm telescope was very useful in the initial photographic and photoelectric programmes. Presently, the 15-cm, f/15 reflector (Ziess, Jena), acquired in 1960  and the 25-cm telescope is being used for acquainting the visitors to the Observatory. The Observatory was only centre in India for about two decades using 79/51-cm Baker-Nunn Satellite Camera along with precision timing. The Observatory has an electronic workshop, a machine workshop, a fine technics laboratory which includes aluminizing unit and optics workshop, well equipped library, a computer section and a small photographic section


* Observatories of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics


            Kavalur observatory houses the 2.34 m Vainu Bappu Telescope, opera­tional since 1985. This Cassegrainian telescope has an equatorial horse-shoe yoke mounting with hydrostatic bearings. Apart from photography, Coude focus has also been made available. Some back-end instruments are being. Significant gain was achieved in the tracking accuracy of the telescope. The CCD camera used earlier was replaced by a more efficient, large-format (1024 x 1024 pixels) CCD. A new efficient, computer-controlled spectrograph has been acquired for spectroscopy and spectrophotometry and put in operation durign 1996-97.


        A polarimetry option is now available with the spectrograph, which was put to use for spectropolarimetry of comets. The 234 cm diameter primary mirror of the telescope was re-aluminised during the period. The misalignment detected in the long focus camera of the new spectrograph was corrected in IIA’s Photonics Lab. Additionally available national facilities include a Perkin Elmer data digitising system and an instrumentation cell at Bangalore. The second large telescope at Kavalur is a 102 cm telescope operational with Coude and Cassegrain systems backed up by spectrograph, photometers and spectrum scanners with on-line computing facili­ties. The Institute also has a specialised optical laboratory and optical workshop in Bangalore for grinding and figuring optical mirrors upto 2.5m diameter.



3.15          Infrared Telescope Facility at Gurushikhar:


           The 1.2 m telescope at Mt. Abu has been fully operational since 1996. This is an f/13 Cassegrain system and the telescope is equipped with a range of backend instruments : IR camera with 256 x 256 pixel; a large format thinned back illuminated CCD camera (1024 X 1024 pixel); Imaging Fabry-Perot Spectrometer; optical and infrared polarimeter, IR fast photometer for lunar occultation and a grating spectrograph. The two channel fast Infrared photometer for obtaining simultaneously lunar occultation light curves at two IR wavelengths has been undergoing tests at the Gurushikhar telescope. The telescope has been successfully exploited for a number of observational programmes.


3.16     Medium Scale Facilities for Study in Aeronomy


            Over the past several years a large number of medium scale scientific facilities have been developed and are currently in operation to conduct different experiments and data collection for studying various atmospheric and ionospheric phenomena. A few important facilities are the following: (a) VHF coherent radar to study the electrojet phenomenon and ionospheric irregularities at Thumba, (b) HF-Doppler radars at Kodaikanal and Waltair to study F-region dynamics, (c) Chain of ionosondes at Ahmedabad, Delhi, Kodaikanal, Kolhapur, Thiruvananthapuram, Sriharikota and Waltair for regular monitoring of ionosphere, (d) high power pulsed ruby lidar , CW (Ar+)  and Nd-YAG lidar systems at Thiruvananthapuram giving information on atmospher­ic aerosol density distribution upto 30km, (e) a six-station chain of Dobson's spectrophotometers to compute total ozone content and vertical ozone distribution, (f) a chain of meteoro­logical balloon launching stations for measuring temperature, winds, humidity and ozone profiles up to lower stratospheric heights; (g) balloon, rocket and satellite payload development facilities at Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Thumba, New Delhi, Mumbai and Pune, (h) a number of airglow emission photometers in visible and infrared wavelengths at Ahmedabad and Pune,  (i) a chain of stations for receiving satellite radio beacon transmission in VHF and UHF bands for deriving total electron content and ionospheric scin­tillations, (j) a chain of multi-wavelength radiometers and B-UV photometers for measuring geographical distribution of atmospher­ic aerosol loading and ultraviolet flux received on the earth's surface, (k) a chain of Fabry-Perot Spectrometers for co-ordinated airglow measurements at Ahmedabad, Pune and Kodaikanal, (l) laboratory set-up for measurement of photo absorption cross-sections, fluorescence spectra, radiative life times of molecules, (m) Nd-Yag laser system at PRL, Ahmedabad for studying atmospheric aerosols and temperatures, (n) partial reflection radar at Tirunelveli for measurement of mesospheric winds and waves.


3.17            Cyclone Warning Dissemination System (CWDS):


            There are 250 CWDS stations (set up by IMD) along the coastal districts of India, covering maritime states like West Bengal, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Goa  and Gujarat. The service is used for transmitting cyclone warnings via INSAT satellites to the local people in areas likely to be affected by the cyclone. This is the most effective medium of transmission because, it is least affected by adverse weather conditions in comparison to landline media (T/P, Telex, W/T etc.). This has been in operation since 1986. The service has been very useful in saving human lives and property during cyclones, all these years since then.


3.18            Meteorological Data Dissemination (MDD) Ground Stations:


            India Meteorological Department (IMD) is operating a network of 33 National and 3 International  MDD receiving stations at important forecasting offices of the Department for reception of processed low resolution INSAT cloud pictures in analog mode. The processed INSAT imagery is multiplexed with weather fax and alphanumeric data into a composite 10 KHz base band signal which is transmitted via INSAT- series satellites in a broadcast mode in gigahartz frequency band for interception by the secondary users. Because of direct broadcast from satellite, the scheme is more efficient and reliable and give better quality data to the forecaster helping them in resolving different weather system in a satellite imagery.

3.19     START Regional Centre:


            The South Asian START Regional Research Centre (SAS-RC) has become operational at NPL. START (Global Change System for Analysis, Research and Training) is the international programme catering globally to the capacity building needs in various countries for the implementation of three major international scientific programme devoted to the study of the global change phenomena, namely IGBP, WCRP and HDP. SAS-RC along with its network serves the capacity building interests of India, Bangladesh, Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and is one of the four networks (other three being Temperate East Asia, South East Asia and Oceanic) covering the entire Asia-Pacific region. The activities include international workshop/training programmes, exchange of scientists, data information networking and execution of mutually agreed upon co-operative research campaigns dealing with global change studies.


3.20     Data Centre on Global Change:


            Data centre on global change and other atmospheric science research topics has been initiated as part of the NPL’s centre on global change for use by Indian scientific community as well as for the use under the various international networks for global change studies. Apart from middle atmospheric data and atmospheric satellite data it is also a major storehouse for data useful for the preparation and updating of the GHG inventory of the Indian region.


3.21   Meteosat-5 , Primary Data Utilisation System (PDUS):


The PDUS system was installed in IMD, New Delhi to receive processed high resolution digital imagery data in all the three channels, visual,  IR and UV from Meteosat-5. Every half an hour imagery data is received. The WV data has been particularly very useful from weather forecasting point of view. The animation capability of half hourly picture were successfully used for tracking tropical cyclones.

Extracted from Indian Report to COSPAR, 1998-1999