Page 12 - April 2021
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India’s Space Odyssey
 Poised to send a manned mission to space, India’s endeavours in this field have come a long way since
its first satellite, Aryabhata, went up atop a Russian rocket in April 1975
n Dr Pramod Kale
Iwas very fortunate to have been associated with our Space pro- gram right from the beginning of our efforts of tracking low orbit satellites in 1960-1961 at the Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad, and launch of the first sounding rocket from the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) near Thiruvananthapuram in 1963. When I look back on our efforts carried out over the last six decades, I feel honoured to have had the oppor- tunity to participate and contribute in those efforts.
Students, teachers, general public at any age are fascinated by ‘Space’. The mystery of the unknown, the remote- ness, the adventure, the danger — all at- tract them. Reaching out to other plan- ets and other worlds were the subjects earlier for science fiction. It is no longer so. Living in space, working in space, bringing samples of material from the
Moon or an Asteroid, travelling in space as a tourist, moving about on the surface of the Moon and Mars have become a reality now. Today, university students not only can dream about making their own small satellites and get them launched using our launch vehicles, but they also can realise those dreams. We have certainly come a long way.
Dr Vikram Sarabhai, the father of India’s space programme, had said on February 2, 1968, at the time of the dedication of TERLS to the United Na- tions: “There are some who question the relevance of space activities in a develop- ing nation. To us there is no ambiguity of purpose. We do not have the fantasy of competing with the economically advanced nations in exploration of the moon or planets or manned spaceflight. But we are convinced that if we are to play a meaningful role nationally and in the community of nations, we must be second to none in the applications
APRIL, 2021

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