In 1962, India achieved a great place in the space-history of world when Indian Space Research Organisation, popularly known as (ISRO) was established with its headquarters at Bengaluru. It was established with the vision to “harness space technology for national development while pursuing space science research and planetary exploration”. ISRO was set up under the leadership of Dr. Vikram Sarabhai who is considered as the Father of the Space Programme. The principal objective of ISRO is to use space technology for the development of the country. He once told, “There are some who question the relevance of space activities in a developing nation. To us, there is no ambiguity of purpose. We do not have the fantasy of competing with the economically advanced nations in the exploration of the Moon or the planets or manned space-flight. 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 application of advanced technologies to the real problems of man and society, which we find in our country. And we should note that the application of sophisticated technologies and methods of analysis to our problems is not to be confused with embarking on grandiose schemes, whose primary impact is for show rather than for progress measured in hard economic and social terms”.
The former President of India, A. P. J. Abdul Kalam who was also associated with the ISRO, said, “Very many individuals with myopic vision questioned the relevance of space activities in a newly independent nation which was finding it difficult to feed its population. But neither Prime Minister Nehru nor Prof. Sarabhai had any ambiguity of purpose. Their vision was very clear: if Indians were to play meaningful role in the community of nations, they must be second to none in the application of advanced technologies to their real-life problems. They had no intention of using it merely as a means of displaying our might”.
From the quotations of above two eminent persons, it is evident that few persons in those days were not in favour of India’s space programme. Anyhow today India is a great name in the space programme. Dr. Sarabhai started a project for the fabrication and launch of an Indian satellite as a result, the first Indian satellite Aryabhata, was put in orbit in 1975 from a Russian cosmodrome. In 2008, India launched as many as eleven satellites, including nine foreign and went on to become the first nation to launch ten satellites on one rocket.
One of the greatest achievements in present days is Chandrayaan-2 which is the second lunar exploration mission developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) after Chandrayaan-1. Chandrayaan-2 comprises of a lunar orbiter, the Vikram lander, and the Pragyan lunar rover, all of which have been developed in India. The main scientific objective is to map the location and abundance of lunar water via Pragyan, and on-going analysis from the orbiter circling at a lunar polar orbit of 100 × 100 kilometres. However, regarding the landing of Chandrayaan-2, Indians are aware about the issue but the recent news items reveal that the health of lander Vikram of Chandrayaan-2 is yet not fully ascertained (up to 10 September 2019), although it has been accurately located.
All Indians are proud of Dr K. Sivan, the Chairperson of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and his team members for their excellent endeavour to take Chandrayaan-2 at the pinnacle.
Dr. Shankar Chatterjee
Former Professor& Head (CPME)