Space Science and research has been an integral part of the Indian space programme. The Indian space research activities were initiated in 1963 with the launching of sounding rockets from the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) to measure the equatorial electrojet parameters. Since then, the Space Science Programme has progressed with the setting up of state-of-the-art ground based experimental facilities and conducting large number of rocket and balloon borne experiments on upper atmospheric phenomena, cosmic rays, energetic X-rays and gamma rays.
With the advent of satellite era, scientific payloads have been launched to investigate the upper atmosphere/ ionosphere, observe in the X-ray and UV wavelengths which otherwise would not have been possible from ground. The first Indian satellite Aryabhata carried a payload consisting of X-ray telescopes in the medium energy range 2 to 20 keV and the hard energy range 20 to 150 keV. An X-ray sky monitor camera was placed on the Bhaskara-I satellite.
The Space Science research in the country has gained impetus with the successful launch of Chandrayaan-1, India’s first mission to the Moon which marked the commencement of India’s planetary exploration programme.
Space Physics Laboratory (SPL) under VSSC is carrying out basic and applied research on the lower and upper atmospheres, ionospheres and magnetospheres of the Earth and other solar system bodies (planets, planetary satellites and comets), using a suite of state-of-the-art experiments; ground-based, aboard ships and aircrafts, balloon and rocket-borne, and satellite payloads. The major disciplines are Aerosols and Climate Forcing; Boundary layer processes; Numerical modelling; Trace gases and atmospheric chemistry, microwave propagation and remote sensing of Earth’s surface and atmosphere; Dynamics and Energetics of the middle atmosphere; Convection and Clouds, Processes and coupling in the Mesosphere – lower Thermosphere – ionosphere with links to magnetosphere, equatorial aeronomy, investigations of the ionosphere and magnetosphere, experimental explorations of Moon and exosphere of Mars, investigation of processes in the Sun, solar wind-planet interactions, and modelling and observation of planetary and cometary emissions. SPL also offers excellent opportunities to motivated students and scientists for performing research in the above frontline disciplines, under different schemes of ISRO.