Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology

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Indian Institute of
Space Science and Technology
भारतीय अंतरिक्ष विज्ञान एवं प्रौद्योगिकी संस्थान (Hindi)
IIST logo clearer.png
IIST logo
Motto विद्या सन्धिःप्रवचगम् सन्धानम्
Established 2007
Type Deemed University[1]
Chancellor A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
Director K. S. Dasgupta
Academic staff
100 (approx)
Undergraduates 600 (approx)
Postgraduates 150
Location Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India
Campus 100 acres (0.4 km2)[2]
Affiliations Department of Space, Indian Space Research Organization

The Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (Hindi: भारतीय अंतरिक्ष विज्ञान एवं प्रौद्योगिकी संस्थान) (IIST) is a government-aided institute and deemed university for the study and research of space science, located at Valiamala, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. It is the first university in Asia to be solely dedicated to the study and research of Outer space.[1] It was inaugurated on 14 September 2007 by G. Madhavan Nair, the then Chairman of ISRO.[3] IIST was set up by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) under the Department of Space, Government of India.[4] A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, former President of India, is the Chancellor of IIST.[5] IIST offers regular engineering undergraduate, postgraduate and doctorate programmes with focus on space science, technology and applications.


Envisioned to fulfill the requirements of scientists and engineers in the Indian Space Program, by offering undergraduate and postgraduate education and research programmes in space science and technology, the institute started functioning from the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) campus, Thiruvananthapuram, on September 14, 2007 with an initial investment of INR270 crores and annual recurring cost of INR40 crores by the Union Government. The expenditure of each student during the course is supported by ISRO in the form of scholarships or assistantships, and successful students meeting a prescribed criteria are subsequently absorbed into ISRO as scientists.[6][7] It is the only institute of its kind in India, which offers a B.Tech. degree in Space Technology, and subjects exclusive to the arena of space science and technology.[8][9] B. N. Suresh, former director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, is the founding director of the institute.

On 14 July 2008, the Union Human Resource Development Ministry, on the advice of the University Grants Commission (UGC), conferred deemed university status, under a new category, to the institute for a period of five years.[10][11]


At its inception, the institute started functioning at the ATF Campus, under Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum), Kerala. Modern environmentally friendly buildings of unique architecture merge well with the thickly wooded campus of 100 acres situated on the foot hills of Sahyadri.

A state-of-the-art residential campus built near Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre in Valiamala, Nedumangad, Thiruvananthapuram was inaugurated by Dr. Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India on August 25, 2009.[12] The institute started functioning in its new campus from 15 August 2010. The campus has an extension in the picturesque Ponmudi Hills, Thiruvanathapuram, for an observatory which is under construction.

IIST Campus
The old IIST Campus at ATF Area 
View of the old ATF campus from Veli Tourist Village 
View of IIST student hostels at the Valiamala campus 
View of IIST student hostels at the Valiamala campus 
View of IIST student hostels at the Valiamala campus 


IIST offers undergraduate (B.Tech.), master's (M.Tech.) and Ph.D. programs in space science and technology, and also serves as a research center.[4] Doctoral programmes in basic sciences and post-doctoral programmes are also offered.


Dr.A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, Chancellor, IIST delivering the presidential address at the first convocation of IIST in 2012
Dr.A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, Chancellor, IIST delivering the presidential address at the first convocation of IIST in 2012

The admissions to the undergraduate (B.Tech.) programmes for 2013 and 2014[13] were made through the All India Rank List prepared and published by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), based on the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) - Main. Previously, IIST admitted students through the IIT-JEE rank lists from 2007 to 2009, and conducted its own entrance exam called ISAT[14]) from 2010 to 2012. However, applicants will need to qualify the JEE Advanced exam, and marks obtained in the same will be used in determining the eligibility of the candidate [15] IIST offers 156 seats for admission to its B.Tech programmes in Aerospace Engineering, Avionics and Physical Sciences. Over 85,000 aspirants applied for these seats in ISAT 2012 making IIST one of the most selective institutes in India.

The applications for admission to M.Tech. courses[16] are invited directly and students are shortlisted based on undergraduate academic performance, GATE score and projects undertaken by them.



  1. Department of Mathematics
  2. Department of Physics
  3. Department of Chemistry
  4. Department of Earth and Space Sciences


  1. Department of Aerospace Engineering
  2. Department of Avionics


  1. Department of Humanities


Being a specialized institution under the Department of Space, IIST does not participate in any rankings by private organizations.


IIST also has a small observatory on campus equipped with an 8 inch Newtonian telescope.[17] A 14 inch telescope will replace the 8 inch telescope in the near future. The telescope is housed in a dome on top of the Physical Sciences academic block. The dome is powered by two sets of solar panels.[17]

The Observatory at IIST with an 8 inch Celestron telescope.The library building can be seen in the background
The Observatory at IIST with an 8 inch Celestron telescope. The library building can be seen in the background

Student activities[edit]

Student projects[edit]

VYOM ('sky' in Sanskrit) is the Sounding Rocket designed by the B.Tech students of IIST. Vyom had its maiden flight on the 11th of May, 2012 when it took to the sky from TERLS. and the mission was a total success.The objective of the launch was to flight-test the solid rocket motor and the accelerometer payload developed for the project.[18] Vyom is the first student made sounding rocket in Asia and the Vyom Mk II is planned for launch in 2015.[19] IIST also runs a student satellite project, which is also slated for launch in 2014-2015 on board the PSLV.

Student Clubs[edit]

We, the Stargazers (Astronomy Club)[edit]

This club exposes students to the wonders of space. In 2009, the club organized Aparimit, an astronomy festival, to celebrate the International Year of Astronomy, the activities of which have since then been integrated into Conscientia, the Science and Technology Festival. Members of this club have organized two telescope-making workshops apart from night-sky observation sessions and invited many eminent astrophysicists and space scientists for seminars and talks. The club also runs an observatory on campus.

Aero Club[edit]

A vibrant and budding club of IIST, it came into existence on 4 November 2013, dedicated to arouse creativity and knowledge in aerospace engineering. Til now there have been numerous sessions and seminars, some to be mentioned on water rocketry, aerodynamics of boomerang, MATLAB, helicopter dynamics. Members of this club and faculty present the sessions. Summer projects have been initiated in July 2014 to help freshman year students towards various challenging ideas such as Two Stage water rocket, RC Ornithopter, Ardu pilot to name a few.

QC (Quiz Club)[edit]

Official logo of the IIST Quiz Club

This club conducts weekly quiz sessions where members challenge each other on a variety of topics like art, literature, sports, science and technology, films, politics, etc. QC also conducts quizzes during Dhanak, the cultural festival and Conscientia, the technical festival. Every year, QC organizes QCFixion, its annual general quiz in Thiruvananthapuram. Previous editions of QCFixion have seen participation from colleges all over Kerala.[20]

Physics Club[edit]

Started in 2010, this club is a gathering ground for students who like to question the challenges of science. A wide variety of topics are dealt with in the Physics club through weekly seminars by students and faculty.

Vox Materia (Material Science Club)[edit]

Under the Department of Chemistry, this club works on student projects on fabrication and development of advanced materials. It was set up in 2009 with the efforts of IIST's third batch of undergraduate students and the Chemistry department.

Student Festivals[edit]

The following student festivals are organized at IIST every year.


Conscientia is the Annual Astronomy and Technology Festival of IIST.[21] Conscientia offers various challenging events in different fields of engineering and science, including astronomy, aerospace engineering, electronics, computer science, mechanical engineering, robotics, etc. From the year 2010, the astronomy festival Aparimit has been incorporated into Conscientia. The 2010 edition[22] was inaugurated by IIST's Chancellor, A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, former President of India.[23] In just a few years, Conscientia has evolved to become the largest technical festival in the state of Kerala.[24] The 2014 edition of the festival is going to start on 28 February 2014. The official website of the festival [3]


Dhanak is the Annual Cultural Festival of IIST. Named after the Urdu word for 'rainbow', it stands for the splash of colour and sunshine that this festival brings with it. It[25] spans all facets of cultural activity, including dramatics, fine arts, literature, quizzing, music, dance, film-making, and photography.

IIST Model United Nations (IIST MUN)[edit]

Started as an intra-college event in March 2012, IIST MUN has now become a national inter-college Model United Nations with United Nations General Assembly council held successfully in September 2012 and 2013.

International collaborations[edit]

IIST has collaborations with Universities Space Research Association and CALTECH. The Satish Dhawan fellowship at CALTECH was announced by Dr. K. Radhakrishnan, Chairman, ISRO on June 3, 2013.[26] The fellowship provides an opportunity every year starting from the winter session of the academic year 2013-14 to one meritorious graduating student from the Aerospace Department of IIST to be sponsored by the Department of Space, Government of India to pursue Masters in Aerospace Engineering at CALTECH.[27][28] Preliminary talks are on for an MoU with EADS and École Polytechnique.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^
  3. ^ "A new trajectory". The Hindu Business Line. September 24, 2007. Retrieved 2009-02-28. 
  4. ^ a b "An educational hub in the making". The New Indian Express. 2009-08-30. Retrieved 2009-09-07. 
  5. ^ "Kalam appointed IIST Chancellor". The Hindu. 2008-09-09. Retrieved 2009-02-28. 
  6. ^ "Setting up of Indian Institute of Space Science & Technology (IIST)". Union Human Resource Development Ministry, Press Information Bureau. April 26, 2007. 
  7. ^ "Indian Institute of Space Science & Tech to take off on Sept 14". Financial Express. August 31, 2007. 
  8. ^ "Beyond engineering and medicine". The Hindu. April 20, 2009. 
  9. ^ "A launch pad for space scientists". The Hindu. August 7, 2007. 
  10. ^ "Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IISST) Thiruvanathapuram Declared as Deemed to be University". Union Human Resource Development Ministry, Press Information Bureau. July 14, 2008. 
  11. ^ "IIST gets deemed university status". The Hindu. July 15, 2008. 
  12. ^ "Manmohan inaugurates new IIST campus". The Hindu. 2009-08-26. Retrieved 2009-09-07. 
  13. ^ "Admission to Under Graduate Programmes (B.Tech. 2013)". IIST. November 28, 2012. 
  14. ^ "ISAT2012. From 2013,the admission into IIST will be through JEE Mains where 60% weightage is for the JEE Mains and 40% for 12th board.". Retrieved 2012-07-23. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ [1][dead link]
  17. ^ a b "The Observatory - SKY OVER IIST". Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  18. ^ "IIST students launch sounding rocket". The Hindu. 2012-05-12. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  19. ^ [2][dead link]
  20. ^ "From the diary". The Hindu. 2012-02-09. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  21. ^ "Know A Fest listing for Conscientia 2014". 2014-01-30. 
  22. ^ "Conscientia 2010 (The Annual Science & Technology Festival of IIST)". Retrieved 2 March 2010. 
  23. ^ "Kerala / Thiruvananthapuram News : Kalam to inaugurate Conscientia 2010 today". The Hindu. 2010-03-04. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  24. ^ "Conscientia 2013: City’s Biggest College Fest - Trivandrum News". 2013-03-25. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  25. ^ "Dhanak". Retrieved 2009-10-31. 
  26. ^ "Welcome To ISRO :: Press Release :: June 03, 2013". 2013-06-03. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  27. ^ PTI (2013-06-03). "Satish Dhawan endowed fellowship established at Caltech | Business Line". Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  28. ^ "India Establishes Caltech Aerospace Fellowship | Caltech". 2013-07-30. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 8°37′31.31″N 77°2′2.42″E / 8.6253639°N 77.0340056°E / 8.6253639; 77.0340056