By Vijay Darda | 25-09-2018
India which carried the first rocket on a bullock cart to the launch station has carved a niche for itself in launching satellites
The pictures you see along with this article belongs to April 1975. Then the parts of the rocket were carried on cycle and India’s first satellite Aryabhatta was taken to the launch station on the bullock cart. Since then, India has come a long way. Now India is one of the countries in the world which have been leading in space exploration. For this spectacular achievement, we need to compliment the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) scientists. The birth of ISRO took place on August 15, 1969. The father of India’s space programme Dr. Vikram Sarabhai had started the activities of ISRO in 1963 itself. This responsibility was entrusted to him by the then Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.
Tragically, Dr. Sarabhai could not live to be amidst us for a long time but after that Prof. Satish Dhawan, Prof. Udupi Ramchandra Rao, Prof. U. R. Rao, G. Madhavan Nair, Dr. K. Radhakrishnan, A. S. Kiran Kumar and present chairman of ISRO K. Sivan have catapulted ISRO to the height it occupies today. I would like to remember with gratitude the contribution of former Prime Ministers Smt. Indira Gandhi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and their successors who have sincerely supported Indian space science programme. Today, most of the countries of the world seek the help of India to send their satellites into space. This is reflective of our quality. Undoubtedly, with 41 per cent of the global satellite market under it, America is still a big player, but we are also growing rapidly and we have already achieved around 4 per cent stake.
ISRO will make rapid progress now because we are sending the satellite into space at the lowest cost. It is like what America does for 66 rupees is being done in India for one rupee only. Russia is also quite cheap but that too is four times more expensive than us. In fact, Sriharikota’s global positioning with launch of ISRO’s quality site also makes it the best place for launch. Now the countries around the world want their satellites launched from India. India’s confidence is growing rapidly. On February 15 last year, India sent 104 satellites together into space and surprised the whole world by setting a new record. Earlier in 2014, Russia had launched 37 satellites simultaneously.
The story of ISRO’s quality and capability can also be gauged from its figures. ISRO has so far launched 239 satellites of more than 28 countries. Clear data is not available, but according to available information, ISRO has so far earned around Rs 5600 crore. That is, it has proved itself to be an earning son of India. The satellite market is about Rs13 lakh crore now and the day is not far when ISRO will become the most substantial player in this market.
In terms of quality, ISRO scientists have done really well. When no country of the world was ready to part with technology then our scientists relied on themselves and today we all proudly say that our space mission is actually indigenous. When we launched the Mangalyaan successfully at extremely low cost, the world stood amazed by our cost-effective launch of the satellite to Mars. The distance of Mars from orbit of India is about 67 crore km and ISRO spent only Rs 450 crore which comes to 6 rupees 71 paise per km. This means that ISRO spent 10 times less than what the NASA may have done for launching similar type of satellite.
The ability to launch satellite at such low cost is not possessed by any other country of the world. After the success of Chandrayaan-1, India is now preparing for the launch of Chandrayaan-2. Moreover, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also announced that in 2022, any son or daughter of India will be travelling through space riding on indigenously built satellite. Indian national Rakesh Sharma, however, has gone to space earlier but the satellite Soyuz, which was carrying him, was from the Soviet Union. Only the US, Russia and China have the capability to send a person into space, but now India has also attained this capability. The country is hoping that in the coming years, ISRO will be able to take an Indian national to the moon. ISRO will turn fifty years old next year. India is proud to have this shining star in its firmament.
ISRO is yet to turn fifty but the kind of record established by this organisation in space science is unique to say the least. There is no other country in the world which can launch a satellite as cheaply and securely as India. The whole world has come to acknowledge this fact.