A basket of bountiful offerings marked the year for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Under new chairman A S Kiran Kumar, the year 2015 could be termed as one of commercial launches, as a host of nations—the US, the UK and Singapore, among others—signed up with ISRO’s commercial arm Antrix for launch of multiple satellites.
The space agency now has a track record of launching 57 foreign satellites for 20 countries, including space-faring nations. For the five British satellites that ISRO launched—the heaviest commercial launch ever undertaken by India at 1,440 kg—it not only rented out premium space but also lent a rocket for the first time. Not just that, NASA too dialled ISRO to launch its satellites, marking another first for the Indian space agency. By successfully launching ASTROSAT, its maiden astronomy observatory to study the universe in detail, India joined a select elite group of nations.
Also topping the list of successes for the year has been the continued run of the Mars Orbiter, which completed 100 days on the New Year’s day of 2015. ISRO will soon give wings to its other projects—the mission to Venus is likely to happen next year, India’s second lunar probe Chandrayaan II will land on moon in 2017, and its first solar mission Aditya L1 may be launched in 2019.