"There are some who question the relevance of space research in a developing nation. To us there is no ambiguity of purpose. We do not have the fantasy of competing with economically developed nations in the exploration of moon or planets of manned space flight. But we are convinced that if we are to play a national role meaningfully, and in the community of nations, we must be second to none in the application of advanced technologies to the real problems of man society." - Dr. Vikram Sarabhai.
The father of Indian space program in these immortal words summed up the need for India's space program and on 15th August 1969, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) was formed under his leadership.
Chronology of India's space program
April 19, 1975 - ISRO's first Indian Satellite, Aryabhatta, launched with Soviet assistance.
June 7, 1979 - Bhaskara-1, an experimental satellite for earth's observations, launched.
August 10, 1979 - First experimental launch of SLV-3 with Rohini Technology payload on board. Satellite could not be placed in orbit.
June 19, 1981 - APPLE, an experimental geo-stationary communication satellite successfully launched.
November 20, 1981 - Bhaskara-II launched.
April 10, 1982 - INSAT - 1A launched. Deactivated on September 6, 1982.
April 1984 - Indo-Soviet manned space mission. Capt. Rakesh Sharma becomes the first Indian in space.
July 13, 1988 - Second development launch of ASLV with SROSS-2 on board. Satellite could not be placed in orbit.
July 21, 1988 - INSAT-1C launched. Abandoned in November 1989.
June 12, 1990 - INSAT 1D launched.
July 10, 1992 - INSAT-2A, the first satellite of the indigenously built second - generation INSAT series, launched.
July 23, 1993 - INSAT -2B, the second satellite in the INSAT-2 series launched.
September 20, 1993 - First development launch of PSLV with IRS-1E on board. Satellite could not be placed in orbit.
December 7, 1995 - INSAT-2C, the third satellite in the INSAT-2 series launched.
June 4, 1997 - INSAT-2D, fourth satellite in the INSAT series, launched. Becomes inoperable on October 4, 1997.
April 3, 1999 - INSAT-2E, the last satellite in the multipurpose INSAT-2 series, launched by Ariane from Kourou, French Guyana.
March 22, 2000 - INSAT-3B, the first satellite in the third generation INSAT-3 series, launched by Ariane from Kourou, French Guyana.
April 18, 2001 - The first developmental launch of GSLV-D1 with GSAT-1 on board from Sriharikota.
October 22, 2001 - ISRO's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C3, successfully launched three satellites - Technology Experiment Satellite (TES) of ISRO, BIRD of Germany and PROBA of Belgium - into their intended orbits.
September 12, 2002 - ISRO's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C4, successfully launched KALPANA-1 satellite from Sriharikota.
January 24, 2002 - Successful launch of INSAT-3C by Ariane from Kourou, French Guyana.
April 10, 2003 - Successful launch of INSAT-3A by Ariane from Kourou, French Guyana.
September 28, 2003 - Successful launch of INSAT-3E by Ariane from Kourou, French Guyana.
October 17, 2003 - ISRO's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C5, successfully launched RESOURCESAT-1 (IRS-P6) satellite from Sriharikota.