The Spaces Between Us: ISRO”s Quest To Link Space Science To Common Man

Posted on August 20, 2012

By Arti Manchanda:

As the nation celebrated its 65th Independence Day, it’s apt to look back at the individual and organizational stalwarts who have contributed to build the might of Gandhi’s India. ‘Vasudhev Katumbakam’, the whole world is like a family, but why limit ourselves to just the earth? What about connecting to the celestial bodies beyond our planet? These celestial spaces have undergone exploration and the findings have been both astonishing and welcoming. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), which was established in the early 1960s with the scientific investigation as one of its goals, has come a long way with many milestones, giving many proud moments to the nation.

Exploration of upper atmosphere and ionosphere over the magnetic equator that passes over Thumba near Thiruvananthapuram using small sounding rockets was one of the first things attempted by ISRO. This organization, realizing the immense potential of space technology for national development, was conceived by Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, the visionary leader who envisioned that this powerful technology could play a meaningful role in national development and solving the problems of common man.

Understanding the world around us, the world inside us, and the world beyond us has never been easy and will never be. Man’s insatiable quest for knowledge and understanding of the world has led to several scientific theories that have paved the way for new technologies. In the 20th century, the Cold War and Space Race led to exploration and discoveries by the Russians and the Americans – the Sputnik and Apollo.

Living in this digital age of today is beyond belief, as news of any event happening world over would reach us in seconds. The vast territorial expanse has been reduced to a digitized global village. All the communication satellites for television broadcast, telecommunications and meteorological applications; and the remote sensing satellites for management of natural resources have led us to make predictions.

The two major satellite systems in the country, namely Indian National Satellites for communication services, Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellites for management of natural resources and also, Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle for launching IRS satellites and Geostationary Satellite Launch Vehicle for launching INSAT satellites have been big breakthroughs in the space research sector in India.

Finding water on the Moon through Chandrayaan mission; robotic probes for locating traces of water on the planet Mars; Jupiter mission to reveal that oceans are likely to be underlying the icy surfaces of that planet’s moons have hinted of life on other planets. ISRO’s recent advanced dialogue for three launch services contracts and establishment of a Research and Development complex holds a promising future to link space technologies with the life of a common man. Building further, the space agency also plans to undertake 58 satellite and launch vehicle missions in the 12th five-year period.

With this kind of rocketing success, ISRO will take India to new heights.

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