THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), celebrating 50 years of Space Physics Division (SPD) at Thumba, will hold a seminar, ‘50 years of excellence in space science research’. Former ISRO chairman K Kasturirangan will inaugurate the event on Monday to be attended by an array of senior serving and retired ISRO personnel, including present chairman K Sivan.
To supplement a few ground-based measurements like ionosonde, ionospheric drift and magnetic field measurements were initially set up at Space Science and Technology Centre (SSTC) (which was later renamed as VSSC), TERLS by the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) and Andhra University.
To streamline these experimental and research activities at TERLS, the Space Physics Division (SPD) was established by Dr Vikram A Sarabhai during the middle of 1968, with Prof P D Bhavsar as Head and Dr B V Krishna Murthy as Associate head.
Dr Sarabhai’s aim was to link technology with development, nurture scientific abilities and offer applications of social and economical relevance. The initial years witnessed a rapid growth in the research activities with SPD venturing into satellite and rocket experiments, ground-based radars, technical physics area (having relevance to ISRO).
Due to the diversified activities of SPD, later a full-fledged science laboratory, the Space Physics Laboratory (SPL) was formed under the umbrella of ISRO on 11 April 1984 with Dr C A Reddy as first Director. National Level Scientific Advisory Committee overviews the scientific activities of SPD so as to focus on research areas of fundamental and national importance, strongly supported by VSSC/ISRO.