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Salute to space scientists

Highlights

The successful launch of GSAT-6 by our own Geo Synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), powered by an indigenous Cryogenic engine,

The successful launch of GSAT-6 by our own Geo Synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), powered by an indigenous Cryogenic engine, is yet another milestone in India’s space odyssey. Our space scientists have spent around two decades in conceiving the cryogenic technology and spent around Rs 400 crore in developing it. As a result, the country will save precious foreign exchange. India can also make a further foray into the lucrative global space market by offering launch of communication satellites at a cheaper cost. Braving sanctions, India understood the intricacies of this complex technology.

The US imposed curbs on ISRO and GlavCosmos of Russia under the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) to deny us access to cryogenic technology or engines. India entered the space with the launch of a rocket to study atmosphere in 1960’s at a time when the nation was not even producing enough food to feed its population. The 1970’s saw launch of a series of experimental satellites. The efforts to master launch vehicle technology also began during this time. The 1980’s saw successful launch of multipurpose INSAT satellites and remote sensing satellites. Even the advanced countries use our remote sensing technology, indicating the global acknowledgement of Indian space scientists.

Later, India could launch exclusive satellites for the purposes of meteorology and education. The chequered history indicates the determination and dexterity with which our space scientists made the nation proud. Not just the satellites, India made a similar progress in accomplishing launch vehicle technology that culminated in GSLV. Thanks to a series of successes registered by Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), India could even successfully attempt deep space exploration with Chandrayaan and Mangalyaan, something even some of the developed nations could not do. The NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper aboard India’s Chandrayaan has conclusively established the presence of water on moon.

The significant dimension of India’s space programme is its application to improve the social and economic conditions of our people. Such a perspective began even before the nation could have its own satellites evident from the implementation of Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE) and Satellite Telecommunication Experiment Project (STEP) way back in 1970’s. India uses space technology for mind-boggling purposes like monsoon management, disaster management, drought and flood management, environment, sustainable development, exploration of natural resources, telecommunications, broadcasting, remote sensing, education, training, healthcare delivery etc.

The maturity of the Indian space programme is understood by an array of institutions and mastery over wide-ranging space activities including computer applications, space application, satellite development and launching, allied research activities, space education etc. India has also shared its knowledge with international community. The global space market is highly competitive and protected. But, India could penetrate it. The spin-off benefits of space science could ameliorate the sufferings of people in various ways viz., providing light weight artificial limbs. The cumulative achievement of the Indian space science community deserves full appreciation. The nation salutes them on yet another accomplishment.

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