The Indian space program began establishing itself with the launch of sounding rockets, which was complimented by India's geographical proximity to the equator. These were launched from the newly-established ThumbaEquatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) , built near Thiruvananthapuram in southern Kerala. Initially, American sounding rockets like the Nike-Apache, and French sounding rockets like the Centaure, were fired and used for studying the upper atmospheric electrojet, which until then had only been studied from ship-based sounding rocket launches in the Pacific Ocean. These were soon followed by British and Russian rockets. However, since day one, the space program had grand ambitions of developing indigenous technology and India soon began developing its own sounding rockets, using solid propellants -these were called the Rohini family of sounding rockets.As the Indian Rohini program continued to launch sounding rockets of greater size and complexity, the space program was expanded and eventuallygiven its own government department, separate from the Department of Atomic Energy. In 1969 the Indian Space Research Organization(ISRO)
was created from the Indian National Committee for Space
program under the DAE, continued under the Space Commission and finally the Department of Space, created in June of 1972. (1970-1980) In the 1960s, Sarabhai had taken part in an early study with NASA regarding the feasibility of using satellites for applications as wide as direct television broadcasting, and this study had found that it was the most economical way of transmitting such broadcasts. Having recognized the benefits that satellites could bring to India from the very start, Sarabhai and the ISRO set about designing and creating an independent launch vehicle, capable of launching into orbit, and providing the valuable experience needed for the construction of larger launch vehicles in future. Recognizing the advanced capability India had in building solid motors with the Rohini series, and that other nations had favoredsolid rockets for similar projects, the ISRO set about building the technology and infrastructure for the Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV) . Inspired by the American Scout rocket, the vehicle would be a four-stage all-solid vehicle. Meanwhile, India also began developing satellite technology, anticipating the remote sensing and communication needs of the future. India's first foray into space began with the launch of its satellite Aryabhata in 1975 by a Soviet booster. By 1979, the SLV was ready to be launched from a newly-established second launch site, the Shriharikota Rocket Launching Station (SRLS) . The first launch in 1979 was a failure, attributed to a control failure in the second stage. By 1980 this problem had been worked out. The first indigenous satellite launched by India was called Rohini-1 .(1980-1990)Following the success of the SLV, ISRO was keen to begin construction of a satellite launch vehicle that would be able to put truly useful satellites into polar orbits. Design of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)
was soon underway. This vehicle would be designed as India's workhorse launch system, taking advantage of both old technology with large reliable solid-stages, and new liquid engines. At the same time, it was decided by the ISRO management that it would be prudent to develop a smaller rocket, based on the SLV thatwould serve as a testbed for many of the new technologies that would be used on the PSLV. The Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle (ASLV) would test technologies like strap-on boosters and new guidance systems, so that experience could be gained before the PSLV went into full production.Eventually, the ASLV was flight tested in 1987, but this launch was a failure. After minor corrections, another launch was attempted in 1988, this launch again failed.(1990-2000)It was not until 1992 that the first...