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The History of India in Space

India in Space Timeline       Indian Space Pioneers

India launches a powerful GSLV rocket toward space

Space technology has allowed the nation of India to move into the world of high technology, a place previously occupied only by more-developed nations.

India has been up there since July 18, 1980, when it became the eighth to demonstrate it could send a satellite to orbit above Earth. India launched the satellite Rohini 1 on an Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV) rocket from the Sriharikota Island launch site.

Indian cosmonaut Rakesh Sharma spent eight days in 1984 aboard the USSR's space station Salyut 7.

In recent years, India has concentrated much of its space development work on complex applications satellites and more powerful rockets. The nation's two main interests are satellites for remote sensing and communications -- used for weather pictures, disaster warnings and feeds to 552 television and 164 radio stations on the ground.

Here's a partial chronology:

India in Space Pioneers

Vikram Sarabhai
Vikram Sarabhai
Vikram Sarabhai. Vikram Ambalal Sarabhai founded India's space program after envisioning Indian satellites that could provide communications, meteorology, remote sensing, and direct-to-home television broadcasting.

He founded the Physical Research Laboratory, the Space Science Research Institute, the Department of Space, and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

In 1962, Sarabhai organized space research as chairman of Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR). He set up of the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station and began manufacturing sounding rockets in India. He drew up plans to transmit education to remote villages across India with the Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE).

Satish Dhawan in
The Hindu newspaper
After Sarabhai died in 1971, the Vikram Sarabhai Space Center (VSSC) in Tiruvananthapuram is named for him.

Satish Dhawan. Another early dedveloper of India's space program was Satish Dhawan. He was the longest serving director of the Indian Institute of Science when he died in 2002.

Prime Minister Indira Gandhi asked him to head the nation's space program. When the space scientist and former chairman of ISRO died, Indian President, K. R. Narayanan said, "India's space programmes owe to a great extent its spectacular growth and high level of maturity to the stewardship and visionary leadership of Prof. Dhawan."

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