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At 18:25 on 21st November 1963, a rocket launched into space from India. It heralded the start of the Indian Space program even though the news of this achievement was lost in the midst of the global media coverage of the assassination of President Kennedy on the following day. Since those early days when a former Catholic church was the space programs headquarters and just about everything the Space program used came from abroad, India is now a leading spacefaring nation.
Today, India's space program is delivering on the vision of its founder Vikram Sarabhai, that Space Services should touch the lives of the ordinary people of India. With every orbit of India's growing number of satellites, the quality of the lives of millions of Indians is enhanced by space based services in agriculture, healthcare, commerce, communication and education.
Over the last half century, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has constructed a substantial collection of weather and communication satellites delivering tsunami, typhoon and flood warnings, search and rescue services and direct-to-home television broadcasts. ISRO sent a spacecraft to the Moon in 2008, to Mars in 2013 and placed a space telescope in Earth’s orbit in 2016. Of the 1167 satellites in orbit, 75 were made in India, and 35 are in operation today. The space program is the epitome of India’s journey from the third to the first world.
This book provides the big picture of India’s long association with science, from historical figures like Aryabhata and Bhaskara to Homi Bhabha and Vikram Sarabhai, the key architects of its modern space program. It traces the technological development of Tipu Sultan’s use of rockets in large scale warfare in the 1780s; the all but forgotten contribution of Stephen H Smith who established a world record by transporting parcels and livestock by rocket power in 1935 in northern India; the detailed first-hand account of India’s first space launch in 1963 from those who were present at the time and concludes by looking at ISRO’s current and future goals.
Key questions about the Indian Space Research Organisation are answered in the pages of this book. What type of launchers has it developed? How are the ordinary people of India benefitting? How did ISRO go to the Moon and Mars? What are the prospects for India's ambitions for human spaceflight, military and science projects? Will India compete or collaboration with China, USA and Russia?
Richly illustrated with pictures, many published for the first time, this one book written for the non-specialist offers a comprehensive view of India’s space program - its history, current status and future ambitions, all in one place.
Gurbir Singh is a UK based space writer. He works full time in the IT sector as Senior Cyber Security Consultant. He studied science and computing and holds a science and an arts degree. Once keen on aviation, he has a private pilots licence for UK, USA and Australia. He was one of 13,000 unsuccessful applicants responding to the 1989 advert in the UK “Astronaut wanted. No experience necessary” to become the first British astronaut, for which Helen Sharman was eventually selected and flew on the Soviet space station MIR in 1991
He is also the publisher of www.astrotalkuk.org, a not-for-profit astronomy podcast established in 2008. In 2011, Gurbir published his first book, Yuri Gagarin in London and Manchester. The book traces the visit of the world’s first spaceman’s visit to England with first hand accounts from the people who saw and met him. His second book, The Indian Space Programme published in October 2017, is an account of the origin of India’s space programme, its current capabilities, and achievements and future ambitions. Born in India, he has been living in the UK since 1966 with the exception of one year in Australia. He ives with his wife and daughter in Lancashire in England.
Gurbir Singh is a writer based in the UK. His first book, Yuri Gagarin in London and Manchester was published in 2011 to mark the 50th anniversary of the world’s first spaceflight. He was one of 13,000 unsuccessful applicants responding to the 1989 advert “Astronaut wanted. No experience necessary” to become the first British astronaut. Helen Sharman was eventually selected and flew on the Soviet space station MIR in 1991. Once keen on flying, Gurbir holds a private pilot’s licence for the UK, USA and Australia. His 2017 book, The Indian Space Programme is a detailed account of the India’s capabilities, achievements