SPACE ACE

India Today - - STATES -

NO ROCKET SCI­ENCE

In 1962, as­tro­physi­cist Vikram Sarab­hai im­pressed upon Jawa­har­lal Nehru the im­per­a­tive of de­vel­op­ing in­dige­nous space tech­nol­ogy. He did the spade­work to cre­ate the in­fra­struc­ture for solid propul­sion rock­ets at the Thumba Equa­to­rial Rocket Launch­ing Sta­tion in the sub­urbs of Thiru­vanan­tha­pu­ram, seek­ing only tech­no­log­i­cal in­puts from his ex­ten­sive con­tacts in the US, former USSR, Ja­pan and France. He cre­ated a cul­ture of open-ended ex­per­i­ments and in­no­va­tions that con­trib­uted to a healthy com­pet­i­tive en­vi­ron­ment and team spirit at the In­dian Space Re­search Or­gan­i­sa­tion (ISRO).

Blos­som­ing as a space power, In­dia to­day oc­cu­pies pride of place with its mas­tery of rocket and satel­lite manufacturing ex­per­tise. This has en­gen­dered con­fi­dence in the coun­try’s engi­neer­ing and sci­en­tific R&D ca­pa­bil­i­ties. De­spite ISRO’s ex-chair­man Satish Dhawan’s claims about ‘the

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