New Delhi: India is celebrating today the 100th birth anniversary of Dr Vikram Sarabhai, who is considered as the Father of the Indian space program.
Earlier called the Indian National Committee for Space Research, ISRO was established in 1962 by him.
Born in Ahmedabad in 1919, Dr. Sarabhai earned his doctorate at Cambridge. He founded the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) in Ahmedabad in November 1947.
Vikram Sarabhai successfully convinced the Indian government of the importance of a space programme after the Russian Sputnik launch. Dr Sarabhai had said, “There are some who question the relevance of space activities in a developing nation. To us, there is no ambiguity of purpose… We must be second to none in the application of advanced technologies to the real problems of man and society.”
Dr Homi Bhabha, widely regarded as the father of India’s nuclear science program, supported Vikram Sarabhai in setting up the first rocket launching station in India. The inaugural flight was launched on November 21, 1963 with a sodium vapour payload.
Apart from ISRO and PRL, he pioneered the setting up of several institutions, such as the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad, Community Science Centre, and the Darpan Academy for Performing Arts which he set up with his wife Mrinalini, a renowned dancer.
Dr. Sarabhai had worked on India’s first satellite, Aryabhata, but he never lived to see its launch in 1975, which happened four years after his death. He received the Padma Bhushan in 1966 and was conferred the Padma Vibhushan posthumously in 1972. In 1973, a crater on the moon was named after him.