On 24 September 2014 as the MOM entered the Martian orbit India created history. It became the first Asian nation and third country in the world after US and erstwhile Soviet Union (USSR) to achieve this feat. Besides ISRO became the fourth space agency after NASA, European Space Agency and Space Agency of erstwhile USSR.
More incredibly, the Scientists at ISRO achieved this feat in their first attempt and at a cost of 74 million US dollars as against other three countries many attempts and much higher cost.
The achievement was startling and a milestone for a space agency that was termed as primitive when it started its journey to space by carrying its satellite Ariane Passenger Payload Experiment (APPLE) on a bullock cart to the launch pad in 1981.
Since the launch of Aryabhatta-I on 19 April 1975 aboard Soviet Union’s Kosmos-3M launch vehicle ISRO has come a long way. The efforts of ISRO saw India evolved from a dependent nation for sending spacecraft to a self-reliant nation which not only sends its own satellites but also of other nations. So far, ISRO has launched 65 satellites or spacecrafts of which 30 were Indian and 35 were Foreign Satellites.
India not only is the sixth nation to have presence in space but also one of the regional leaders in remote sensing satellites. Its ever-dependable Polar Satellite Launch Vehicles (PSLV) has achieved global recognition as one of the most successful launch vehicles. PSLV has seen 25 consecutive success launches out of 26 launches.
Further, successful completion of Chandrayaan –I mission (launched in 2008) was a major landmark for ISRO. It made India one of the four countries to place its flag on the Earth’s natural satellite Moon.
With many more space missions in pipeline including development of IRNSS system, which is equivalent to US Global Positioning System (GPS) and Russia’s GLONASS, and sending manned spacecraft in future, ISRO’s journey from Bullock-cart to Mars is indeed a matter of pride for every Indian.
Who: Manglayaan of ISRO
When: 24 September 2014