Friday, Oct 10, 2003
Front Page |
Southern States |
Other States |
Advts: Classifieds | Employment | Obituary |
By R.K. Radhakrishnan
This is the first time that Mr. Kalam is visiting the Sriharikota range after becoming President. The last time he came here was in 2001, as the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, to watch the first developmental flight of the Geo-Synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle. The GSLV marked a momentous occasion for Mr. Kalam and his colleagues it was the logical culmination of the `launch vehicle' dream that began taking shape in the early 1960s. From humble beginnings with sounding rockets, the nation was finally capable of placing satellites in the geo- synchronous orbit.
Mr. Kalam's career with the space establishment began after he moved to Thumba from the Bangalore-based Aeronautical Development Establishment. According to his memoirs, Wings of Fire, it was after the successful launch of Nike-Apache that Vikram Sarabhai shared with Mr. Kalam and his contemporaries the dream of an Indian Satellite Launch Vehicle.
Thus began the work on the first Indian Satellite Launch Vehicle, the SLV-3. Mr. Kalam was in charge of one of the four stages of the SLV-3, the Design Project Stage-4. Later, when Satish Dhawan became the head of the Indian Space Research Organisation, Mr. Kalam was chosen as the project director of the entire programme.
Mr. Kalam watched with satisfaction as his `baby', the SLV-3, soared skyward on August 10, 1979 at 7.58 a.m., more than a decade after the programme was launched. The satisfaction lasted 317 seconds. A problem in the second stage saw the vehicle plummet into the sea, 560 km from Sriharikota.
The Department of Space classified this a "partially unsuccessful" flight. Back to the drawing board, Mr. Kalam and his team worked even harder. Less than a year later, on July 18, 1980, the SLV-3 soared skyward, flawlessly.
Mr. Kalam was awarded the Padma Bhushan the next year. He later moved to the ISRO headquarters in Bangalore, and in June 1982, left it to head the Defence Research and Development Laboratory, Hyderabad.
During his career with the space establishment, he divided time between his first home, the Thumba launch facility and the Sriharikota range. "He used to be here for very many days during the SLV days. His entire team ate, slept and dreamt about the launch vehicle those days," recalls a space scientist.
On Friday morning, the President will spend time with engineers and technicians at the Space Centre and later address students of the local ISRO school.
The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | Home |
Copyright © 2003, The
Hindu. Republication or redissemination of the contents of
this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of