Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology

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Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology
Type Public (Deemed University)[1]
Established 2007
Chancellor B. N. Suresh[2]
Director V. K. Dadhwal
Location Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India
Campus 100 acres (0.4 km2)[3]
Affiliations Department of Space, Indian Space Research Organisation

Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (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.[4] IIST was set up by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) under the Department of Space, Government of India.[5] A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, former President of India, was the Chancellor of IIST.[6] 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 14 September 2007 with an initial investment of 270 crore (equivalent to 571 crore or US$89 million in 2016) and annual recurring cost of 40 crore (US$6.3 million) by the Government of Kerala.[7] It is the only institute of its kind in India, which offers a BTech 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 former Prime Minister of India on 25 August 2009.[12] The institute started functioning in its new campus from 15 August 2010. The campus has an extension in the picturesque Ponmudi Hills, Thiruvananthapuram, for an observatory which is under construction.

IIST Campus
The old IIST Campus at ATF Area 
View of IIST Library 
View of IIST student hostels at the Valiamala campus 


IIST offers undergraduate (BTech), master's (MTech) and PhD programs in space science and technology, and also serves as a research centre.[5] Doctoral programs in basic sciences and post-doctoral programs are also offered. Till 2013 batch, three different courses in BTech were offered, namely BTech in Aerospace, Avionics and Physical Sciences. As of 2014 admissions, a new 5-year Dual Degree (BTech + MTech/M.S) in Engineering Physics replaced the existing Physical Sciences branch. The MTech/M.S can be done in any of the following – M.S. in Astronomy & Astrophysics, M.S. in Earth System Science, M.S. in Solid State Physics or MTech in Optical Engineering. The seats are limited to 20 in the dual degree program from the existing 36 in Physical Sciences. 60 students each are admitted to the Aerospace and Avionics branches.


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 (BTech) 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 100,000 aspirants applied for these seats in ISAT 2012 making IIST one of the most selective institutes in India.

The applications for admission to MTech 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


University and college rankings
General – India
NIRF (Overall) (2017)[17] 56
Engineering – India
NIRF (2017)[18] 28

It is ranked 28 in the National Institutional Ranking Framework in engineering category in 2017[18] and 56 overall.[17]


IIST also has a small observatory on campus equipped with an 8-inch Newtonian telescope.[19] 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.[19]

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 BTech students of IIST. Vyom had its maiden flight on 11 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.[20] Vyom is the first student made sounding rocket in Asia and the Vyom Mk II was planned for launch in 2015.[21] IIST also runs a student satellite project, which is also slated for launch in 2014–2015 on board the PSLV.

Student Clubs[22][edit]

IEEE Student Branch[edit]

IEEE student branch at IIST was formed in 2011 with Avionics as the co-ordinating department. Dr. B. S. Manoj serves as the student branch counselor. It provides a platform for students' development in the technical areas of Electrical, Electronics, and Computer Science and Engineering related areas. IEEE IIST SB organises various Distinguished Lectures and training programs to benefit the membership.


This is a student initiative at IIST to bring the creativity, experience, and ideas together. The club was formally inaugurated on 4 November 2013 with Dr. Pradeep Kumar and Dr. Praveen Krishna as its mentors.It serves as a platform to explore the student’s latent talents and thereby enable them to come out with their innovative ideas and thoughts.Members of this club have organised an interactive sessions, Workshops, competitions throughout the year.Club has also organised guest lecture on Mars orbiter mission by Dr. Ramanan and a lecture on ISRO's RLV-TD project by Shri Shyam Mohan (Project Director of RLV-TD, VSSC).This club has also released its first annual magazine Udaan Mach1.0 [23]

We, the Stargazers (Astronomy Club)[edit]

This club exposes students to the wonders of space. In 2009, the club organised 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 organised 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.

QC (Quiz Club)[edit]

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 organises QCFixion, its annual general quiz in Thiruvananthapuram. Previous editions of QCFixion have seen participation from colleges all over Kerala.[24]

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 organised at IIST every year.


Conscientia is the Annual Astronomy and Technology Festival of IIST.[25] 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[26] was inaugurated by IIST's Chancellor, A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, former President of India.[27] In just a few years, Conscientia has evolved to become the largest technical festival in the state of Kerala.[28] The 2014 edition of the festival is going to start on 28 February 2014. The official website of the festival [2]


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[29] spans all facets of cultural activity, including dramatics, fine arts, literature, quizzing, music, dance, film-making, and photography. The most awaited moment at Dhanak is the pronite, in which a DJ/Band is invited to perform. Dhanak 2015 witnessed DJ VH1 Supersonic and Dhanak 2016 will feature DJ Sunburn.

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, 2013, October 2014 and April 2015. It has become an annual event, the 2016 event to be held in April.

International collaborations[edit]

IIST has collaborations with Universities Space Research Association and California Institute of Technology. The Satish Dhawan fellowship at California Institute of Technology was announced by Dr. K. Radhakrishnan, Chairman, ISRO on 3 June 2013.[30] 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 the California Institute of Technology.[31][32] Preliminary talks are on for an MoU with EADS and École Polytechnique.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 August 2011. Retrieved 7 August 2011. 
  2. ^ "Chancellor | IIST". Retrieved 19 November 2017. 
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 February 2015. Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  4. ^ "A new trajectory". The Hindu Business Line. 24 September 2007. Retrieved 28 February 2009. 
  5. ^ a b "An educational hub in the making". The New Indian Express. 30 August 2009. Retrieved 7 September 2009. 
  6. ^ "Kalam appointed IIST Chancellor". The Hindu. 9 September 2008. Retrieved 28 February 2009. 
  7. ^ "Indian Institute of Space Science & Tech to take off on Sept 14". Financial Express. 31 August 2007. 
  8. ^ "Beyond engineering and medicine". The Hindu. 20 April 2009. 
  9. ^ "A launch pad for space scientists". The Hindu. 7 August 2007. 
  10. ^ "Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IISST) Thiruvananthapuram Declared as Deemed to be University". Union Human Resource Development Ministry, Press Information Bureau. 14 July 2008. 
  11. ^ "IIST gets deemed university status". The Hindu. 15 July 2008. 
  12. ^ "Manmohan inaugurates new IIST campus". The Hindu. 26 August 2009. Retrieved 7 September 2009. 
  13. ^ "Admission to Under Graduate Programmes (BTech 2013)". IIST. 28 November 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 23 July 2012. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ "IIST Thiruvananthapuram admissions 2016: Apply for MTech/MS courses". 
  17. ^ a b "National Institutional Ranking Framework 2017 (Overall)". National Institutional Ranking Framework. Ministry of Human Resource Development. 2017. 
  18. ^ a b "National Institutional Ranking Framework 2017 (Engineering)". National Institutional Ranking Framework. Ministry of Human Resource Development. 2017. 
  19. ^ a b "The Observatory – SKY OVER IIST". Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  20. ^ "IIST students launch sounding rocket". The Hindu. 12 May 2012. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  21. ^ [1] Archived 18 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Udaan Mach1.0". AeroClub. 
  24. ^ "From the diary". The Hindu. 9 February 2012. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  25. ^ "Know A Fest listing for Conscientia 2014". 30 January 2014. 
  26. ^ "Conscientia 2010 (The Annual Science & Technology Festival of IIST)". Retrieved 2 March 2010. 
  27. ^ "Kerala / Thiruvananthapuram News : Kalam to inaugurate Conscientia 2010 today". The Hindu. 4 March 2010. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  28. ^ "Conscientia 2013: City's Biggest College Fest – Trivandrum News". 25 March 2013. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  29. ^ "Dhanak". Retrieved 31 October 2009. 
  30. ^ "Welcome To ISRO :: Press Release :: June 03, 2013". 3 June 2013. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  31. ^ PTI (3 June 2013). "Satish Dhawan endowed fellowship established at Caltech | Business Line". Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  32. ^ "India Establishes Caltech Aerospace Fellowship | Caltech". 30 July 2013. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 

External links[edit]

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