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Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST) is a premier institute located in the capital city of Kerala. IIST is formed with the mission of training the talented young minds to help them become the young scientists in the field of Space Science. The institute is sponsored by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), which comes under the Department of Space (DoS), the Government of India. Since its inception, it has grown in stature and reputation to become one of the premier institutes in the country that offers undergraduate engineering courses. The students who undergo the courses offered by IIST are given full scholarship and free boarding for the period of the course, i.e., four years. The students who complete the course successfully are directly absorbed by the Department of Space as Scientists. Apart from the undergraduate courses, it also conducts graduate courses such as Master's and Philosopher's degree courses. The students of the institute had successfully developed a sounding rocket Vyom in the year 2012. This rocket was successfully test fired from Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS). Drawing the positive energy from the successful completion of the student rocket project, the faculties and students of the institute are planning to launch a student satellite aboard the PSLV in 2014.
IIST was formed in the year 2007 with the aim of providing quality manpower to the country's Space Program. For this purpose, the institute was formed with the initial expenditure of Rs. 270 crores. On an annual basis, the institute further receives a grant of Rs. 40 crores from the Government of India to fund the training provided to the students. The fund is disbursed to the students in the form of scholarships, internships or assistantships. In recognition of the services rendered by the institute and on the advice of the University Grants Commission, the Human Resources Development Ministry of Government of India has accorded the Deemed University Status to the institute for five years. The institute was granted the Deemed University status under special category in the year 2008, a year after its formation. Accordingly, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, the former President of India, was appointed as its first Vice Chancellor and Dr. N. Suresh, the former Director of VSSC, was chosen as its founding Director.
IIST started functioning in the year 2007 in the ATF campus of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC). Initially, the role of the faculty was handled by the reputed scientists from different departments of the ISRO. That was why the institute was first started in the campus of VSSC. As the stature of the course increased and the need for more trained personnel in the field of Space Science and Technology was felt more, the need for a new campus gathered more steam. As a result of this, a new campus was built near the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) facility in a place called Valiamala in Thiruvananthapuram district of the God's Own Country. The state-of-the-art facility for the IIST was inaugurated in the year 2009 by then honorable Prime Minister of the country Manmohan Singh. The institute started functioning from this new facility in the year 2010.
The campus is situated at the foothills of the picturesque Ponmudi Hills. IIST also has a small observatory in its campus. This observatory is equipped with 8 inch Newtonian telescope. The telescope is placed on top of the Physical Sciences Department. The doors of the dome are powered by two sets of solar panels. In future, a 14-inch telescope will replace the existing 8-inch telescope to offer better visibility of the heavenly objects. Other attractions in the campus are fully equipped laboratories, well furnished hostels, and state-of-the-art computer and library centers. The students can visit these facilities at their own convenient timings to avail them. The institute offers its trademark courses through its departments. These departments are adequately manned by highly experienced and knowledgeable faculties. The campus has separate departments for Physics, Avionics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Earth and Space Sciences, Humanities, and Aerospace engineering.
The course offered by the institute is different from those offered by other reputed institutes or colleges in the country. The courses offered at the institute are focused on the Space Science and Technology. Because of this, it has become the only institute in the country that provides engineering courses in Space Sciences and Technology. The institute provides free boarding and lodging facilities to the students who are enrolled in different courses there. It also offers doctoral and post doctoral courses in basic sciences. Over a period of time, this premier institute of the country has gained the reputation of a research center. Currently, a lot of science enthusiasts have joined there to pursue their research in their fields of interest. ISRO offers to absorb those students who pass the courses offered at the institute with the stipulated standards. Such students will be placed in different departments and research labs of the ISRO as Scientists. The different programs offered by the institute are listed below.
Currently, IIST enrolls 156 students for its undergraduate programs. These students are drawn from the All India Rank List prepared by Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). This list is prepared based on the performance of students in the Joint Entrance Examination (main). The institute also conducts its own examination for finding the innate talent in students. This examination is called ISAT. However, the students need to pass both ISAT and JEE-Main examinations to gain the eligibility for the courses offered by the institute. Generally, on a yearly basis, over 85,000 students appear for the tests to check their knowledge and skills in basic sciences.
IIST is a premier institute sponsored by ISRO to train the bright students to become Space Scientists. The reputed institute is located in Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala. It primarily offers quality undergraduate courses in Aerospace Engineering, Avionics and Physical Sciences. The coveted institute also offers graduate courses in these fields. Other fields in which the institute offers courses are Humanities, Chemistry, and Mathematics. Over the years, it has gained a reputation as the premier research center for both applied and basic sciences. The students who become eligible for the course offered by the institute are provided with 100% financial assistance and free boarding facilities. On successful completion of the courses, the students are directly absorbed into different departments of ISRO as Scientists. Hence, the institute's courses have become the most sought after courses in the country.