The launch of India's first moon landing mission, Chandrayaan-2, was successful. ISRO's GSLV Mk-III rocket that consists of three modules, namely Orbiter, Vikram Lander and Pragyan Rover, successfully placed Chandrayaan-2 into Earth orbit from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh at 02:43 PM today. But one of the lesser-known facts about this mission is the lander, which is designed for the moon landing, is named 'Vikram' after late Dr. Vikram Sarabhai.
Photo: Physical Research Laboratory / ISRO
These are some of the most well-known institutions established by Dr. Sarabhai:
One of the greatest achievements of Dr. Sarabhai was the establishment of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). After the Russian Sputnik launch in the late 50s, Sarabhai successfully managed to convince the government about the importance of a space program for a developing country like India.
Dr. Sarabhai emphasized the importance of a space program in his quote:
"There are some who question the relevance of space activities in a developing nation. To us, there is no ambiguity of purpose. We do not have the fantasy of competing with the economically advanced nations in the exploration of the moon or the planets or manned space-flight," Dr. Sarabhai was quoted emphasizing the importance of a space program. "But we are convinced that if we are to play a meaningful role nationally, and in the community of nations, we must be second to none in the application of advanced technologies to the real problems of man and society."
Widely regarded as the father of India's nuclear science program, Indian physicist Dr. Homi Bhabha helped Dr. Sarabhai in setting up the first rocket launching station at Thumba near Thiruvananthapuram and the inaugural flight was launched in November 1963.
Dr. Sarabhai had a dialogue with NASA in 1966 as a result of which the Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE) was launched during July 1975 - July 1976.
Thanks to Sarabhai's efforts, the first Indian satellite, Aryabhata, was put in orbit in 1975 from a Russian Cosmodrome.
Dr. Sarabhai died on December 30, 1971 at the age of 52.