The ups and downs of ISRO

Published: 30th June 2012 11:19 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th June 2012 11:19 AM   |  A+A-

In the first 40 years of its existence, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has had its ups and downs. Now, the story of one of the world’s top space agencies has been put together in a book.

Former President and India’s missile man A P J Abdul Kalam released ‘A Brief History of Rocketry in ISRO’ at a function here on Thursday. Written by former ISRO staffers P V Manoranjan Rao and P Radhakrishnan, the thick volume is about the first four decades of ISRO, how it developed from a mere concept to a space agency capable of shooting off moon probes.

Thiruvananthapuram dons a major role in this story as the birthplace of ISRO, and over the years, four of the space agency’s units have also made the district their home. The book relates how the efforts of men such as Vikram Sarabhai, Satish Dhawan and others shaped the ISRO of today.

Manoranjan Rao had a quite a few hilarious nuggets to offer about the making of the book. ‘’One of the editors of the book asked me, ‘Abdul Kalam is the hero of your book. So the natural question is, who is the heroine? And he is not married.’ True, but in reality, he was married to rockets a long time ago; to rockets of all sizes and shapes. There even was one rocket named Menaka,’’ Rao said, raising laughs.

He recalled how, although India had been sending small sounding rockets off into space, spacefaring nations started to notice only when India successfully launched the SLV-3, a four-stage rocket, the precursor of the ASLV and PSLV. Kalam was the project director of the SLV-3.

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