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Aryabhata: Looking back at first Indian ‘space baby’

Discussion in 'Education & Research' started by layman, Apr 20, 2017.

  1. layman

    layman Aurignacian STAR MEMBER

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    On this day 42 years ago, a 360 kg small wonder made in the modest ‘sheds’ of Peenya in Bengaluru took off to space from the then Soviet Union, and it laid the foundation for India’s satellite programme.

    Aryabhata is the first Indian spacecraft that was also built in the country. Named after the 5th century astronomer, the experimental spacecraft did not last its design life of six months in space. But this baby kick-started the Indian capability to build satellites solidly on track.

    ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC) — which has built nearly 90 bigger and far more sophisticated spacecraft since then — proudly observes April 19 every year as Aryabhata Day or Technology Day, a scientist associated with spacecraft activities said. ISAC, which took birth in the Peenya sheds, has expanded today into two modern campuses in the city’s East. “Aryabhata has a special and significant place in the Indian space programme,” reminisced another senior scientist in Bengaluru. “We have come a long way, moved into advanced spacecraft, and even built good satellites for two customers.” The heaviest Indian satellite built to date was the experimental, low-orbit CARE payload of December 2014 which weighed some 3,775 kg.

    Today, Indian spacecraft are of different classes and serve purposes of communication, meteorology, remote sensing, navigation and planetary exploits such as to Moon and Mars. They can generate up to 6,000 Watts of power compared to Aryabhata’s 47 Watts; and exceed their planned lifespace and perform complex functions, he said.

    Aryabhata took off on April 19, 1975 from the Volvograd spaceport in Russia on the C1 Intercosmos rocket . It was put into an orbit 563 km x 619 km. After four days and 60 orbits, it suffered a power failure and its signals were lost. It is documented to have been in space until February 1992 when it re-entered Earth’s atmosphere, marking its end.

    Aryabhata was conceived around 1970-71 in the early years of ISRO. It is largely credited to single-minded efforts of U.R. Rao, head of ISAC, who later became the Chairman of ISRO. Those were challenging years for a country that was a space novice. The Aryabhata project took off as Indo-Soviet Satellite Project. The Soviets offered this a free launch on its rockets; two subsequent satellites Bhaskara I and II also enjoyed free rides.

    The scientist from ISAC recalled that the old Rs. 2 bank note of the 1970s carried an image of Aryabhata on one side. In 1984, the USSR issued a stamp in honour of these three spacecraft.

    Aryabhata cost around Rs. 3.5 crore, with a Rs. 1-crore forex cost for imported components. (Today, a 2,000-3,000-kg spacecraft can cost Rs. 200-300 crore) Built as a 26-sided polyhedron about 1.4 metres wide, it was meant to study distant celestial bodies that emit X-rays, Sun and Earth’s ionosphere. The instruments came from Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and Physical Research Laboratory.

    Published April 20, 2017
    SOURCE : THE HINDU
     
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  2. layman

    layman Aurignacian STAR MEMBER

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    India has come leaps and bounds and hats of to ISRO's dedication in team work to make India a potent force in space Industry.

    Remembering the days when ISRO was building satellites inspite of lacking heavy technical infrastructure, it is the pure vision to see through to the future for 3 to 4 decades to envision India, capable of launching it own IRNSS with far more advanced capabilities something is not a feet to achieve. These Visionaries are the looked upon by so many young aspirants in India and abroad as their source of encouragement and innovation. There a lot more that can be said to crown their achievements but best would be to wish them to keep going on as the future is bright and shining.

    My own personal experience of touring the facility at my very very young age gave me chills to see PSLV launch and speaking to faculties the gave me inspiration that things can be achieved can be achieved no matter what.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017
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