On the 100th birth anniversary of Vikram Sarabhai, the genius and visionary patron of space research in India, here are some interesting facts about the great man.
Dr. Vikram Sarabhai was perhaps the most significant and essential person behind India’s scientific progress. He is the foundation pillar of the Indian Space Programme.
His inclination towards science, especially physics and mathematics and visionary insight gave India early impetus to become a global space power.
He came from an industrialist family, whose parents fought for independence alongside Mahatma Gandhi. He was married to a classical dancer Mrinalini Sarabhai in 1942 when his family was engaged in Quit India Movement.
His daughter Mallika Sarabhai was a prominent actress and a classical dancer, and his son Kartikeya Sarabhai is an Indian Environmentalist and also awarded with the fourth highest civilian award – Padma Shri.
After independence along with Dr. H.J. Bhabha, he persuaded Indian Government to set up the Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR) in 1962. He was the first chairman of the committee.
In 1969 INCOSPAR was restructured and renamed as Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) was built in 1962, and renamed in the honour of Vikram Sarabhai, the father of Indian Space Program as Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala).
He helped in setting up many institutes for the scientific and cultural development of the country. The list includes:
- PRL (Physical Research Laboratory) in 1947, to focus on the research of cosmic rays and studying the functioning of the upper atmosphere.
- ORG (Operations Research Group), India’s first market research organisation.
- Nehru Foundation for Development, Ahmedabad
- Community Science Centre, Ahmedabad
- Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad in 1961
- Ahmedabad Textile Industry’s Research Association (AITRA)
- Faster Breeder Test Reactor in Kalpakkam (Tamil Nadu)
- Variable Energy Cyclotron Project in Calcutta
- Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL), Hyderabad
- Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) in Jaduguda (Jharkhand)
- Darpan Academy for Performing Arts (along with his wife) in Ahmedabad
- His insights towards developing India’s first satellite Aryabhatta, which was launched in orbit in 1975 from a Russian Cosmodrome.
- His consistent communication with NASA which formed the baseline for Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE) in 1975, which made way for the coming of cable television in India.
- Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT).
Distinguished Positions held by him
- President of the Physics section, Indian Science Congress (1962)
- President of the General Conference of the I.A.E.A., Vienna (1970)
- Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India (1966 to1971)
- Vice-President, Fourth UN Conference on ‘Peaceful uses of Atomic Energy’ (1971)
- Founder and Chairman, Space Applications Centre (1963 to 1971),
- Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize, 1962
- Padma Bhushan, 1969
- Padma Vibhushan, 1972 (posthumously)
Indian Government released a Postal stamp commemorating Vikram Sarabhai on his 1st death anniversary in 1972.
ISRO when launched its lunar mission with Chandrayan-2 this year, in which Vikram lander is scheduled to touch down the lunar surface on September 7.
By: Abhishek Kumar Sushil, Staff Writer, DKODING MEDIA