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Indian Space Situational Assessment Report 2023


The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) recently published the Indian Space Situational Assessment Report (ISSAR) for 2023. This report offers a detailed analysis of India’s space assets and assesses their vulnerability to potential collisions in space. The ISSAR provides valuable insights into the current state of India’s space infrastructure and aims to enhance the country’s ability to manage and safeguard its assets in the increasingly crowded space environment.


GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. ISSAR 2023 Report Highlights
  2. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
  3. Way forward

ISSAR 2023 Report Highlights

The ISSAR 2023 Report highlights several key points regarding India’s space activities and contributions to international space sustainability efforts:

Global Launches and Contributions:

  • A total of 3,143 objects were added globally in 2023 from 212 launches and on-orbit breakup events.
  • India contributed significantly with the launch of 127 satellites by the end of December 2023.

Success of ISRO Launches:

  • All seven launches of ISRO in 2023 were successful, placing a total of 5 Indian satellites, 46 foreign satellites, and 8 rocket bodies into their intended orbits.

Indian Space Assets:

  • India had 22 operational satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and 29 in Geostationary Orbit (GEO) as of December 31, 2023.
  • Three active Indian deep space missions were highlighted: Chandrayaan-2 Orbiter, Aditya-L1, and Chandrayaan-3 Propulsion Module.

Space Debris Management:

  • ISRO conducts Collision Avoidance Maneuvers (CAMs) to safeguard its operational spacecraft in case of close approaches by other space objects.
  • A significant increase in the number of CAMs conducted by ISRO in 2023 was noted, with 23 CAMs carried out compared to 21 in 2022 and 19 in 2021.
  • Eight Indian satellites were successfully re-entered in 2023, demonstrating ISRO’s commitment to responsible space debris management.

International Cooperation:

  • ISRO actively participates in international fora such as the Inter-Agency Debris Coordination Committee (IADC), contributing to discussions and guidelines on space debris and long-term sustainability of outer space activities.
  • ISRO chaired the 42nd annual IADC meeting in April 2024 and contributed to the revision of IADC space debris mitigation guidelines.

Space Debris Challenge:

  • The report acknowledges the challenge of space debris, with 82 rocket bodies from Indian launches remaining in orbit and fragments from a 2001 PSLV-C3 mishap still contributing to the total.

 Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)

Origins and Mandate of ISRO:

  • ISRO, a key component of the Department of Space (DOS) under the Government of India, traces its roots back to the Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR) established in 1962 by Dr Vikram A Sarabhai.
  • Established on August 15, 1969, ISRO expanded its scope from INCOSPAR to harness space technology for national development.
  • In 1972, ISRO was integrated into DOS with the primary objective of developing and applying space technology to meet diverse national needs.
Functions and Centres of ISRO:
  • Satellite launch vehicles like PSLV and GSLV are developed at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram.
  • U R Rao Satellite Centre (URSC), Bengaluru, is responsible for satellite design and development.
  • Integration and launch operations occur at Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), Sriharikota.
  • Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC), Valiamala & Bengaluru, focuses on the development of liquid stages, including cryogenic stages.
  • Space Applications Centre (SAC), Ahmedabad, handles sensors for communication and remote sensing satellites, along with application aspects of space technology.
  • National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), Hyderabad, manages the reception, processing, and dissemination of remote sensing satellite data.

Way forward

  • Establishing a Global Framework for Space Traffic Management (STM): Standardizing procedures for collision avoidance and inter-operator coordination.
  • Promoting Responsible Space Practices: Advocating for debris mitigation measures and sustainable satellite deployment.
  • Encouraging Innovation in Space Technology: Fostering advancements in active debris removal and on-orbit servicing technologies.
  • Facilitating International Collaboration: Sharing resources, expertise, and data for enhanced space situational awareness.
  • Reviewing and Updating Space Regulations: Adapting regulations to meet evolving space sector needs and raising awareness about space sustainability.

-Source: The Hindu

May 2024