India is a great country. She is making rapid progress in every field. She was, however, far behind the two super powers USA and USSR in space science. The wonderful exploit1 of the American and Russian cosmonauts inspired her and she too began to send her rockets in space in order to gather some useful information.
India sent her first rocket Aryabhatta into space on April 19, 1975 with the help of Russia. It was followed by Aryabhatta-II and the Rohini satellites. The satellites had television camera and they sent back interesting pictures.
India’s communication satellite ‘SITE’ was launched into space to transmit televised programme to Indian villages and it is hoped that very soon 70% of the Indian villages will be able to see the television programme though the satellites.
At present INSAT-B is in the space and is sending useful information data. It is also helping in transmitting T.V. programmes and carrying news to different areas. The satellites have cost the government large sums of money but they have proved very useful and show that India does not lag behind the other advanced nations.
INSAT-B gives us the forecast of the weather and therefore is a great help to fisher-folk. They can avoid going on the high seas if the weather is expected to be bad. It may be noted that both the INSAT-A and INSAT-B satellites were launched into space through the American space shuttle, Columbia.
The first Rohini satellite launched on May 31, 1981 went into orbit but burnt up in about nine days. The second flight of SLV-3 lifted off from Sriharikota launching pad and sent the Rohini satellite into orbit on April 17,1983. The then Prime Minister of India was present on the occasion and congratulated the scientists on this monumental success.
This is not all. India’s performance in space science has been remarkable. An Indian cosmonaut Sq. Ldr. Rakesh Sharma went up in a space flight along with two Russian cosmonauts in Soyuz-T11 and brought a wealth of information with him. His companion Wing Commander Ravish Malhotra who too had his training as a cosmonaut with Rakesh Sharma was highly praised by the Russian cosmonauts. The Soviet President praised the work done by the Indian cosmonauts.
The success of the Indian cosmonauts has completely changed India’s programme of space travel. The time is not far when Indian cosmonauts would very often go into space. It is believed that the space flights will give India information about the mineral wealth that abounds in our country.