Saturday, April 10, 2021

#AtoZChallenge - ISRO

(This month, each day, except the four Sundays, I will be blogging about interesting features associated with Bengaluru, formerly known as Bangalore, as part of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge)

Indian Space Research Organisation is another premier national institution that is headquartered in Bengaluru. 

Indian scientists and researchers in the space segment are doing considerably well just as their counterparts in areas like information technology and pharmaceuticals.

From 1962 when ISRO was set up by the Indian government at the prodding of an internationally renowned physicist and astronomer Vikram Sarabhai ... to 1975 when India built its first satellite called Aryabhatta ... to recent years like 2019 when Chandrayaan 2, India's second lunar exploration mission, was launched ... it has been a long way. 

Two leading space scientists, Vikram Sarabhai (right)
and Abdul Kalam (left), giving shape to India's space
programme. Kalam also served as India's President.
Photo source: ISRO

CHANDRAYAAN 2

In September 2019, Chandrayaan 2 famously missed its mark by a whisker when the lander, Vikram, carrying the rover, Pragyan -- which was supposed to land on the near side of the moon -- deviated from the intended trajectory. (I blogged about this.)

A successful landing would have made India the fourth country after the erstwhile Soviet Union, the US and China, to do so. ISRO is not giving up -- it's planning another attempt with Chandrayaan 3 some time this year, or next year.

EDUCATION, COMMUNICATION

One of the early projects was the SITE or Satellite Instructional Television Experiment, designed jointly by ISRO and NASA, in 1975. It brought educational programmes to rural India.

A good junk of India's satellites are those related to communication -- a series called Indian National Satellite System, comprising a number of geostationary satellites, started in 1983. There are close to 30 of them. 

According to the ISRO, it has so far launched 111 spacecraft and done 82 launches from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota, a small island in the Bay of Bengal off the coast of Andhra Pradesh.

It includes as many as 342 foreign satellites of 34 nations.

Photo source: ISRO

The latest was as recent as February 28 this year, when the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C51 sent up into orbit Amazonia-1, the optical earth observation satellite of the National Institute for Space Research, along with 18 co-passenger satellites.

CONTROVERSIES

Space exploration is also very controversial since it involves mind-boggling sums of money. 

Some say even a small percentage of money that is spent on space missions is more than enough to improve our lives on earth. 

But the other side of it -- a positive one -- is that a lot of our modern-day comforts, conveniences and solutions to many problems have some connection with what we have learnt from our space ventures. That can be another post on some other occasion.

(On Monday, the first day of the 3rd week of AtoZing, we look at something foreign in Bengaluru)


14 comments:

  1. Hari Om
    Hoorah, when I read the aero post I was sure hoping the space post would appear!!! Am not sure why I am so interested but it has been a lifelong sideline hobby for (I was a member of the Australian National Space Assoc for many years). It is interesting you bring up the cost v benefit angle, given that this very day this post appeared.

    Certainly it is costly... but it is human nature to look outwards. It began in Africa when ancient man explored north and east... continued with the Vikings, up through Polo and Columbus and Janszoon and Cook... we hunger for new territory, excitement of new discovery. It is discovery which benefits those who cannot make those trips, through increased knowledge of human endurance, skills of survival, new medicines, adapted and invented tools and machinery... of course space money could have bought several new homes for the poor - but the truth is that all who have sovreign currencies have the ability to print whatever money is required. Where it is spent is a matter of will and intent. If there was genuine will and intent to house and feed the poor, it would be spent there. THAT is where the argument lies with space-age governments... (I may be a tad passionate about this!!!) YAM xx

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    1. Hi Yami - Thank you so much for that very detailed and informative jotting. You are on the dot. I share you view. No one stopped governments from spending on the poor or housing. You are very right about "will and intent". Makes a lot of sense. Thank you so much for your perspective and wisdom.

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  2. I'm a huge fan of space programs. Fascinating stuff.

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  3. Thanks Pradeep for the interesting information about ISRO. When I think of ISRO, I think of poor Nambi Narayanan. He could have become Chairman of ISRO.

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  4. Thanks for the post on ISRO. I agree with SG about Nambi’s bad luck.

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    1. Hi KP - Thank you. Yes, Nambi's is a sad story.

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  5. Geat information about Indian space program. Like everything else, it's good to launch satellites, and bad too.
    Have a beautiful week-end!
    Quilting Patchwork & Appliqué

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  6. Great information to share. I am fascinated by space exploration.

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    1. Hi Lynnette - Thank you so much for visiting and for your comments. I too am a great fan of space. We learn a lot from space, don't we?

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  7. I'm learning a lot via your well researched posts Pradeep. Thank you.

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  8. What a fantastic choice for I ! Bengaluru has so much history.

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    1. Hi Sunday Visitor - Yes, indeed. Thank you. :-)

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  9. Hi Pradeep - India is spurring itself on ... and I'm so pleased to see it spreading its wings as a country - it's always had lots to offer and so many knowledgeable people went to other countries - now thankfully they seem to be staying. Fascinating read - Hilary

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