INDIA IN SPACE
Many countries have been trying to establish their superiority in space. Some want at least their presence felt. The history of space programmes of the progressive countries has been a chequered one. It has been rather apart of the cold war between the two big powers-the erst while USSR and USA. The space became a store house of the nuclear arsenal of the west. With the disintegration of the former USSR the things have changed everywhere. India’s concern for peaceful venture in the space has become relevant.
For the common man in the country space is associated with the name of sq. Id. Rakesh Sharma the only Indian so far to visit the space aboard SOY UZ T-H of Soviet-Union on April 5, 1984. It was a short journey fulfilling the ambition of India to have an astronaut. It was actually no achievement for India- a mere lift given by a space traveller to an Indian too. It has not yet enjoyed the luxury of having a space ship for her own. We care ill afford fabulous cost. The moreover it has no utility for the country that has been starting and arranging programmes for peace.
India has no intention to interfere in the affair, of other countries. On this contrary we have cooperated with USA, USSR, and France, UK & Germany and the European space agency making progress in the field of using space crafts for peaceful purposes. The space programmes of India began with the setting up of rocket launching station at Thumba-Trivandrum in 1963. The Thumba equatorial Rocket Launching Station became the center for the growth ISRO. It has now seven associate centres two at Ahmedabad, three at Bangalore one at Sriharikota and one at Thiruvananthapuram.
The Indian satellite launching programme was initiated in 1982 with unsuccessful launching of INSAT-IA. INSAT-IC also met the same fate. But IB launched from Kennedy Space Centre, Florida in 1983 and ID from Cape Cadaver in 1990 was great success. They provided telecommunication facilities and were of a great help in radio and television net work and weather monitoring. Since these four satellites were made by a US communication corporation, India can hardly take full credit for their achievement. We had to wait till 1991 for the indigenously developed space crafts.
The launching of Aryabhatta in 1975, Bhaskara-1 in 1979 and Bhaskara-II in 1981 was a landmark in the Indian satellite programme. The three satellites were launched by Soviet Rocket carriers. They carried T.V. Camera and microwave radiometer for studying and observing Hydrology snow melting, oceanography and forestry on foe earth.
After launching IRS-IA from the USSR on March 1988. The Indian Space programme took a leap by IRS-IB again from Baikanur Cosmodrome in the USSR. Both the satellites are indigenous built. IRS-IB is equipped with LISS camera. The satellite became fully operational on 15th September 1991. As now both the satellites have been working together they cover the country every 12 days. The data sent by satellites will be useful in estimating yield of crops, estimation of ground water and forest wealth. As we have our own satellites we have not depend up on other countries for space oriented telecommunications.
In May 1992 ISRO launched the ASLV-3 that hoisted the stretched’ Rohini Satellite (SROSS). Its successor launched in May 1994 was also a great success. The most successful launch was TRS – P4, KITS 3, and DLR-Tubs at it aboard PSLV-C2 and INSAT-3B in 2000. The launch of GSLV-D1 was a significant achievement in 2001.
In the beginning of the new millennium India has crossed a landmark space frontier with the successful launch from Sriharikota of the geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO). It means that the GSAT-1’s orbit will synchronize with that of the earth, making it appear to be stationary. The 49 meter tall three stage rocket was launched on April 18, 2001.
The first two stages of the rocket are entirely indigenous. The crucial third one, the cryogenic stage used at Russian-built engine. Russia supplied the engine but did not part with the cryogenic technology under US pressure. This proved to be a blessing. Accepting the challenge India developed its own cryogenic technology.
India hopes to launch future GSLVs using indigenously developed cryogenic engines. By now India has attempted 15 space flights of which ten including the GSLV development flights-of April 18, have been successful.
The satellites have given boost to the space programmes for peaceful productive purposes making India an important number of the club of progressive countries.