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  • Nuclear Technology – 04



Nuclear Technology – 04


The responsibility of developing India’s defense technology is assigned to the DRDO, i.e., The Defence Research And Development Organization. The Defence Research and Development Organization or DRDO was set up in 1958 and hence, it is the supreme body of researching, monitoring, regulating, and administering the India Defence Research and Development Program. At present, DRDO is a network of more than 50 laboratories located in different cities of the country. The DRDO specializes in the following fields −
  • Aeronautical Engineering
  • Electronics
  • Armaments
  • Engineering system
  • Combat vehicles
  • Missiles
  • Advanced computing and simulation
  • Life science
  • Special materials
  • Agriculture
  • Training, etc.


The development of missile technology in India started in the 1960s. Consider the following point relating to Missile Technology −
  • The first successful testing of space-cum-missile technology was the Rohini-75, which was tested in 1967.
  • The research and development program of developing indigenous missiles was called the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program’.


Based on target and launching position, the military missiles are classified as −
  • Air-to-Air Missile − This missile is carried by an aircraft and targets the enemy’s aircraft.
  • Surface-to-Air − Such missiles are fired at enemy’s aircraft from the ground.
  • Air-to-Surface − These missiles are fired at the enemy country’s ships, tankers, vehicles, bunkers, or military men from the aircraft.
  • Surface-to-Surface − Such missiles are fired at enemy grounds from our grounds.
  • Underwater − Such missiles target enemy locations in the water.


The Idea Of Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP) was conceptualized by the former President and eminent scientist, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. The objective of this program was to enable India to attain self-sufficiency in the field of missile technology. The missiles proposed under this program are −
  • Prithvi − It is a short-range surface-to-surface ballistic missile.
  • Trishul − It is a short-range surface-to-air missile.
  • Akash − It is a medium-range surface-to-air missile.
  • Nag − It is a third generation anti-tank missile.


Agni is a series of medium to intercontinental range ballistic missiles. Agni missiles are Medium-To-Long Range, Nuclear Weapons capable surface to surface ballistic missile. In the series of Agni missiles, the first (Agni-I) missile was developed under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program in the 1980s and it was first tested in 1989. The following table lists down the different Agni missiles with their features −
Name Type Range Status
AGNI-I Medium-range ballistic missile 700 – 1,250 km Operational
AGNI-II Medium-range ballistic missile 2,000 – 3,000 km Operational
AGNI-III Intermediate-range ballistic missile 3,500 – 5,000 km Operational
AGNI-IV Intermediate-range ballistic missile 3,000 – 4,000 km Operational
AGNI-V Intercontinental ballistic missile 5,000 – 8,000 km Testing
AGNI-VI Intercontinental ballistic missile 8,000 – 10,000 km Under development
  SPACE EXPLORATION  The following table lists down the major space missions along with their timelines −
Mission Year Comment Country
WAC Corporal 1946 It was the first (US designed) rocket that reached the edge of space. USA
V-2 1946 The first pictures of the Earth were taken from an altitude of 105 km. USA
R-1 1951 First time dogs were sent to space. USSR
R-7 1957 First intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) developed. USSR
Sputnik 1 1957 First artificial satellite. USSR
Sputnik 2 1957 First animal (dog named Laika) sent to the orbit. USSR
Explorer 6 1959 First photograph of Earth taken from the orbit (by NASA). USA
Vostok I 1961 First manned flight carrying Yuri Gagarin USSR
OSO-1 1962 First orbital solar observatory (by NASA). USA
Vostok 6 1963 First woman in space (Valentina Tereshkova). USSR
Luna 10 1966 First artificial satellite around the Moon. USSR
Apollo 8 1968 First piloted orbital mission of Moon (by NASA). USA
Apollo 11 1969 First human on the Moon and first space launch from a celestial body (by NASA) – Commander Neil Armstrong and Pilot Buzz Aldrin. USA
Luna 16 1970 First automatic sample return from the Moon. USSR
Salyut 1 1971 First space station. USSR
Pioneer 10 1972 First human made object that had been sent on escape trajectory away from the Sun (by NASA). USA
Mariner 10 1974 First photograph of Venus from Space (by NASA). USA
Venera 13 1982 First Venus soil samples and sound recording of another world. USSR
STS-41-B 1984 First untethered spacewalk, Bruce McCandless II (by NASA). USA
Voyager 1 1990 First photograph of the whole Solar System (by NASA). USA
Mir 1995 First Record longest duration spaceflight (i.e. 437.7 days) set by Valeri Polyakov. Russia
HALCA 1997 First orbital radio observatory. Japan
NEAR Shoemaker 2000 First orbiting of an asteroid (433 Eros) – by NASA. USA
NEAR Shoemaker 2001 First landing on an asteroid (433 Eros) – by NASA. USA
Genesis 2004 First sample return beyond lunar orbit (solar wind)- by NASA. USA
Cassini Huygens 2005 First soft landing on Titan (Moon of Saturn).
Hayabusa 2005 First interplanetary escape without undercarriage cutoff. Japan
Stardust 2006 First sample return from comet (81P/Wild) – by NASA. USA
Kepler Mission 2009 First space telescope designated to search for Earth-like exoplanets – by NASA. USA
MESSENGER 2011 First orbit of Mercury – by NASA. USA
Voyager 1 2012 First manmade probe in interstellar space – by NASA. USA
Rosetta 2014 First man-made probe to make a planned and soft landing on a comet. European Space Agency
2015 Lettuce was the first food eaten that was grown in space. USA & Japan
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