Yesterday was a memorable day of my life as my father told me the best story I had heard since I was born. I knew bits and parts but the entire story was unfolded just yesterday. Let me share it with you dear friends. Read on!

This story is about the father of India’s Space Programme. Being born in a family of industrialists committed to the cause of India’s Independence, this young boy always had his motherland as his topmost priority. Space lured him always and at a modest age of 23, he started the Physical Research laboratory at his home to study cosmic rays. Later the Atomic Energy Commission supported this cause of scientific study and the research expanded to radio physics and many other areas. He was not satisfied with a handful of people working for science. He wanted children to take interest and learn more about science. With this aim in mind, he started a Community Science Centre in 1960.

He later convinced Government of India about the importance of Space Program in India and was heartily supported by Homi Jehangir Bhabha to set up the first rocket launching station in India. This great mind selected Thumba in Kerela as the country’s first launch site. This place was selected because it is located exactly on the Earth’s magnetic equator (a magnetic equator is an imaginary line which connects the points around the planet where a magnetic needle acquires a horizontal position when freely suspended). The exact location for the launch site selected by this visionary happened to lie in an old church. He went upto the Bishop and requested his permission to use the premises for the first Rocket launch. The permission was granted and on November 21, 1963 the world became aware of India’s presence in the world of Space Research when the first rocket was launched in the skies of Thumba. This rocket was supplied by NASA and the journey of the setting up of the launch vehicle and the launch itself was very interesting. The scientists and engineers used to transport the parts required on their bicycles and the research station was established in the rooms and the sheds of the church.

Today, when the entire world salutes ISRO for the launch of 104 satellites in a single go, I salute this great person whose daring dream in the yesteryears brought our Nation to this day today !

Dear friends, the great person about whom this story is all about is Dr.Vikram Sarabhai !


by Shreenabh Agrawal

VIII A, The Chanda Devi Saraf School-KR