India is ramping up its space capabilities in an effort to be seen as a major global space power. It is moving beyond its traditional missions of developing communications and remote sensing satellites to focus on new areas, like navigation

India’s space program is branching out into new fields, including satellite navigation and space science. India has also recently indicated that is revisiting its previous opposition to a human spaceflight program, and is already taking steps towards developing the technology needed for such missions. Indian government established the Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR) in 1962 to conduct sounding rocket research. As the program grew in the late 1960s INCOSPAR became the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), and by 1975 ISRO launched its first satellite, Aryabhata, on a Soviet rocket. India’s first indigenously-built orbital launch vehicle, the SLV-3, successfully put a satellite in orbit in 1980.

ISRO has been devoted for most of its history to efforts with primarily practical applications, rather than for national prestige. This has meant a focus on communications satellites to provide critical services, including telemedicine and distance learning, to many parts of the nation that had little existing communications infrastructure.
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