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A prayer before the launch of every ISRO satellite

Staff Correspondent

Scientists visit Dharmasthala as devotees to offer puja for success

MANGALORE: Some scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) share a special attachment with Sri Kshetra Dharmasthala situated on the foothills of the Western Ghats in Dakshina Kannada. A group of scientists from the Master Control Facility (MCF), Hassan, under the control of ISRO, visit Dharmasthala before the launch of a satellite and offer puja to Lord Manjunathaswamy praying for the successful launch of the satellite. They bring with them a miniature (model) of satellite to be launched. Puja is offered to the model also.

The team of scientists return with prasada leaving the miniature satellite in Dharmasthala. And this tradition has been in practice for the past about 20 years. Every time ISRO launched a satellite either from Sriharikota or Kourou in French Guyana, the miniatures have been brought to Dharmasthala and left there, sources said.

And, how did it all begin? Veerendra Heggade, Dharmadhikari of Sri Kshetra Dharmasthala, told The Hindu on Friday that about 20 years ago a satellite launched by the ISRO developed a snag. "Probably, it was Insat-1B launched in August 1983. After the launch its solar panel did not open. It created tension among scientists and the people," he said.

Following this, a team of scientists from the MCF visited Dharmasthala as devotees and offered prayers. "Since then they visit as devotees and offer prayers. It is a matter of their faith,'' he said.

On Thursday, the ISRO launched Insat-4A, a fourth generation telecommunication satellite, from the spaceport of Kourou in French Guyana. Its miniature had been brought to Dharmasthala a few days ago before its launch.

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