The campus is located at Valiamala, 18 kms from Thiruvananthapuram city, on the way to the famous hill resort of Ponmudi. Modern environmentally friendly buildings of unique architecture merge well with the thickly wooded campus of 100 acres situated on the foot hills of Sahyadri.
The campus creates a unique learning environment enriched by the challenges of the Space Programme. Nurture the spirit of innovation and creativity. Establish Centres of Excellence in niche areas. Provide ethical and value based education. Promote activities to address societal needs.
The Institute is being developed as a centre of excellence in the area of advanced space science and technology and offers Undergraduate, Post-Graduate and Doctoral programmes in Space Science, Space Technology and Space Applications. It also provides post-doctoral fellowship in the niche areas in Space Science and Technology to cater to the sophisticated technological requirements of ISRO. In this institute the education will be totally integrated into high technology research work being carried out at ISRO Centres. Towards this it makes best use of R&D infrastructure of the Department of Space apart from creating its own resources to train the young mind in high technology areas. Efforts are being made to create a most innovative learning process by putting the best use of Communication and Information Technology. The institute provides a full-fledged infrastructure of international standards to develop an excellent academic and research atmosphere. The students will have the provision for scientific and academic interaction with eminent scientists in the country and abroad and also for exchange programmes between national and international universities. Along with the excellent infrastructure provided in IIST, the institute is also endowed with faculty members of fine academic excellence who not only nurture an excellent scholastic atmosphere here, but also act as mentors and counselors to the institute here. Personal and human touch in academic and scientific research is strongly emphasized in the institute.
During the academic year 2007-08, the institute has started functioning with Undergraduate programme in Technology with specialization in Avionics and Aerospace Engineering and Physical Sciences with specialization in Astronomy/Astrophysics, Material Science, Remote Sensing and Atmospheric & Oceanographic Sciences. The curriculum has been carefully structured taking into account the requirements of technologies pursued in Department of Space while keeping the generic requirement of engineering and science course intact. The institute also is making efforts to adopt modern methods of learning and has a good mix of practical, tutorial and lectures in its curriculum. Within a short time the institute will have the special satellite based connectivity with higher bandwidth, which would be essential for distant education delivery from premier institutions as well as research laboratories.
It has well established classrooms, hostels, and library and computer facilities.
As on today, IIST has 575 B.Tech students, 22 M.Tech students, 20 Ph.D students and with 75 faculty members with a student faculty ratio of about 8:1. IIST has introduced a very effective mentoring system where every faculty member has a batch of 2 students to guide, support and enhance the student learning process.