National Committee for Space Research (NCSR), Ahmedabad

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Space research


India’s rocket dreams were born in Ahmedabad, Feb 17, 2017, The Times of India


Isro created history on Wednesday by launching 104 satellites in one go

Out of the total 104 satellites, 101 belonged to six foreign countries

Russian Space Agency held a record of launching 37 satellites in one go in 2014

The 1963 rocket launch meeting involving Vikram Sarabhai, Dr Satya Prakash, Dr Praful Bhavsarand Prof U D Desai.The 1963 rocket launch meeting involving Vikram Sarabhai, Dr Satya Prakash, Dr Praful Bhavsarand Prof U D Desai.

As the nation sat glued to their TV sets watching Isro's workhorse, PSLV-C37, launch 104 satellites into space+ — a new world record — the vapour trail of this dream leads back to the year 1962. It was then that the rocket dreams were first conjured up in meetings of the National Committee for Space Research (NCSR) at Ahmedabad PRL, under the leadership of Vikram Sarabhai. Back then, it was a proposal to fly American made Nike-Apache sounding rockets for upper atmospheric studies. Of the 104 satellites the PSLV carried and successfully put into orbit, 96 were American satellites.

At those NCSR meetings were three Ahmedabad-based scientists, Dr Praful Bhavsar, Dr Satya Prakash and Prof U D Desai. Sarabhai had sought help from the United Nations and NASA to help set up the Thumba rocket launching station at Trivandrum. By 1963, Prof Bhavsar and Dr G S Moorthy were in-charge of launching the country's first rocket, the 725kg Nike-Apache sounding rocket on November 21, 1963. The rocket had travelled at 3,800km per hour.

"Vikram wanted to free the nation from the clutches of poverty by using technology and development of science, dissemination of information, nuclear power for self-reliance and a management institute for a competitive business environment and he set up institutions for that," Dr Bhavsar told TOI in an earlier interview. Dr Bhavsar was handpicked by Dr Sarabhai in 1948 for PRL, to study cosmic rays. Dr Bhavsar claims that by 1950, most discussions at PRL centred around rockets and satellites. So it was on November 20, 1967, that India first launched its indigenously made Rohini RH-75 sounding rocket from Thumba. Along with this launch was a Judy-dart rocket with an indigenous payload. Dr Bhavsar said the first Rohini sounding rocket did not carry a payload and was just to see whether India had the capability to launch its own rockets. "We came out triumphant in the very first attenmpt," said Dr Bhavsar.

See also

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)

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