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Indian Space Programme Sees Progressive Reforms
On November 25, 2023, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Science and Technology Jitendra Singh highlighted the significant impact of space sector reforms on India’s space programme during the 60th anniversary celebration of the first sounding rocket launch at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thiruvanathapuram. The reforms have positioned India as a leading nation in the space sector.
Historical Significance of the Sounding Rocket Launch
Mr. Singh inaugurated the 60th anniversary celebrations, commemorating the first sounding rocket launch from Thumba in 1963, which marked the inception of India’s space programme. He emphasized that prior to the reforms, ISRO was surrounded by a self-imposed barrier of secrecy, limiting public involvement. However, the opening up of the space sector has allowed space technology to reach every household, leading to increased funding, knowledge partnerships, and a strengthened sense of participation among Indian citizens.
Encouraging Outcomes of Space Sector Reforms
Mr. Singh noted the encouraging outcomes resulting from the open access to the space sector, with the emergence of more than 150 space startups in the last three years, signifying significant growth and progress in India’s space ventures.
Commemorative Sounding Rocket Launch
To honor the 60th anniversary, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) conducted a commemorative launch of the Rohini series RH200 sounding rocket from Thumba on November 25, 2023. The event, witnessed by Mr. Singh, senior ISRO officials, space agency veterans, and school children, symbolized the historic significance of India’s space programme.
Celebrating Pioneers of India’s Space Programme
ISRO Chairman S. Somanath expressed gratitude towards the founding fathers of the Indian space programme, particularly recognizing the contribution of Vikram Sarabhai in envisioning and establishing the sounding rocket programme. This occasion also served as a gesture of appreciation to the people of Pallithura (Thumba) who played a pivotal role in vacating their land and church to facilitate the establishment of the space programme in the 1960s.
Prominent Figures and Contributions
The event was graced by the presence of Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan, former chairman of ISRO G. Madhavan Nair, and various other key individuals from ISRO centers such as Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre, Satish Dhawan Space Centre, ISRO Inertial Systems Unit, Human Space Flight Centre, and ISRO Propulsion Complex.