India’s Space odyssey – Mylswamy Annadurai

Share Button

India 75 in Space in thousand words

Mylswamy Annadurai

Western countries  got benefitted by the first two industrial revolutions.  India could not avail such benefits, due to the colonial rule.  However, since 15 August 1947 , India has traveled a long way to ensure her security in vital areas like food, health, education, environment, energy, trade, economy etc in addition to protecting her borders in the land, air and sea. Many leaders, intellectuals , technologists, scientists, academicians, administrators , doctors along with millions of farmers, technicians and soldiers have contributed for this from the areas of agriculture, education, health care, industry and defense. While these areas have grown after independence in the self ruled India, a new program conceived and developed in the Independent India as late as late 60s has helped to leapfrog  almost all the above areas and  has also  taken India as one of the leading nation in the world in one field ,  it is  Indian Space program.

The world has witnessed the first man made satellite Sputnik-1 orbiting the earth in 1957 and the first man Yuri Gagrin to travel to space and return in 1959.  It kicked off the space race between USSR and USA.  For India it was  very modest beginning, setting  up a  launch facility in a church in the Kovalam beach near Trivendrum in 1962 and  the first launch of  sounding rocket on 21 Nov 1963.  Indian Space Research organization (ISRO) was formed on 15 Aug 1969, twenty two years after independence.

ISRO took very caustious baby steps to master technological skills to make satellites, launch vehicles and  tailoring her space program for India specific  societal applications.  In that process   ISRO acquired range of launch vehicles namely SLV-3 , ASLV, PSLV , GSLV and GSLV M-2,3 capable of launching 40kgs of satellite in 400km around the earth to few tons around the Moon and Mars. PSLV, the work horse of ISRO has shown it’s agility in placing large number of satellites in one go that too in different  orbits. Globally PSLV  is  leading  in that segment of launch vehicles having launched more than 350 satellites from 34 countries.

In the area of  satellites,  ranging from the modest  first satellite Aryabhatta  to one of the biggest constellation of  the  state of the art communication satellites, Radar satellites ,highly agile remote sensing satellites, constellation of regional  navigation satellites (NAVIC), meteorological satellites ISRO has placed  all the type of satellites in the orbit. These satellites serve the needs of emerging India in the areas of radio ,TV broadcast, telephony,  mobile communication, telemedicine, tele education, digital governance, weather monitoring, early warning, disaster management, banking and many more.

ISRO’s regional remote sensing centers  combine the services of remote sensing,  meteorological , communication satellites to give vital inputs to the farmers, fishermen and  policy makers.  Indian defense personnel from army, navy and air force also get required support from India’s  space assets. Indian railways and Airlines get support from the services of  navigation and communication.  Likewise, many India specific applications  are being  served using the constellation of more than sixty Indian made satellite assets.

As India is the land of Aryabhata and Bhaskara, Indian space program contributes to unravel the mysteries of  space. Science satellites like multi wave length astonomy satellite Astrosat, and planetary missions like Chandrayaan-1, 2 and Mars orbiter mission MOM played major roles in the world of space science.

Discovery of water molecules in the tenuous atmosphere,  surface and subsurface of the moon by Chandrayaan -1 is  original contribution by ISRO. The way ISRO conceived and  executed the  Chandrayaan-1 mission led  to the noteworthy discoveries. It made the whole world to look back the Moon with renewed interest. Now some serious efforts are being taken up to setup human colony in the moon by a team of space fairing nations and India could play a meaningful role in it.

India also has taken up manned space mission, GAGANYAAN and mission to explore the
Sun, Aditya.

ISRO  has grown leaps and bounds over the last 63 years of journey.  While doing so, Indian academia and industry also were guided and   nurtured  by  ISRO in a well thought out manner to take the mantles in this niche area .

Boyed by the all round developments happened indigenously  in the area of space and space applications as spear headed by ISRO, recently  government of India has made a major  space policy revision. Now private industry can take major part of realizing space assets in terms of   launch vehicles, satellites and applications both for national and international needs. New authorities namely  INSPACE  and NSIL have been formed to guide  the Indian industries.  ISRO will primarily concentrate on space research and space  technology  upgradations and innovations.

Actions being initiated for state of the art  launch pad  near  Kulasekarapattnam  at the southern part of India. Possibly new end to end infrastructures also could be built for small satellite and launch vehicles by the Indian  private industry . Considering few hundred satellites are being launched in the recent past by many satellite operators, with the said emerging developments in  India, we  could provide a very competitive opportunity for the international players in the field of space  to look at India in commercial  terms.

While we salute the freedom fighters on this auspicious day , one also need to remember the founding fathers and  contributors to the Indian space program. The list is so big,  not limited to the luminaries like Vikram Sarabhai, Satish Dawan, UR Rao, Abdul Kalam, Kasturirangan, Madhavan Nair, Radha Krishnan, Kirankumar, Sivan and Somanath.

When India celebrates her 75th  independence day , every Indian house and office premise will be hoisting  the tri-color national flag. I am feeling elated and proud for being  part of Chandrayaan-1 project team that planted the tricolor flag near south pole of the Moon in 2008, placing  India  to be the first country to do such a feat in the polar region of the Moon, which is like the Himalayas of the Earth.

Share Button

மேலும் செய்தி தொடர்ச்சி ...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *