Who is the founder of ISRO?
Vikram Sarabhai, a forward-thinking physicist and industrialist, made a lasting impact on India’s scientific sphere. He is best known as the founder of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), but his influence extended far beyond space research. Sarabhai played pivotal roles in nuclear power advancement and the creation of various scientific institutions that continue to play a crucial role in India’s scientific advancement. This article explores the life and achievements of the ISRO founder and his significant contributions to India’s space programs.
Early Life and Educational Career
- Birth date: 12th August 1919
- Birth place: Ahmedabad, India
Vikram Sarabhai displayed an early aptitude for science. He embarked on his academic journey at Gujarat College and later pursued further studies at the University of Cambridge in England, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in natural sciences in 1940. However, the chaotic backdrop of World War II led him back to India, where he engaged in research on cosmic rays at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, under the guidance of renowned physicist Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman.
Indian Space Program
Vikram Sarabhai’s pivotal role in initiating the Indian Space Programme can’t be overstated. Witnessing the live transmission of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics through the American Satellite ‘Sycom-3’, he grasped the potential of space technologies for India. Following the launch of Sputnik 1 by Russia, Sarabhai persuaded the Indian government about the significance of a space program for the country’s development.
Establishment of ISRO
In 1962, the Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR) was established to spearhead space research, eventually leading to the creation of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) in August 1969. Sarabhai’s efforts culminated in the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station, a remarkable feet of infrastructure establishment along the coast of the Arabian Sea. He initiated programs to use space applications for development, exemplifier by the Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE), which leveraged satellite communication to provide education to remote villages.
Institutions Established by Vikram Sarabhai
Vikram Sarabhai’s zeal for scientific inquiry and societal development drove him to establish several institutions. These are:
- Physical Research Laboratory (PRL): Vikram Sarabhai founded the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) in 1947 in Ahmedabad. Sarabhai was only 28 when he set up the PRL, which focused on various scientific domains.
- Indian Institute of Management: He was also involved in the founding of the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad in 1962, recognizing the need for professional management education in India.
- Ahmedabad Textile Industry’s Research Association: In 1947, he founded the Ahmedabad Textile Industry’s Research Association and looked its affairs until 1956.
Apart from the above institutions, Sarabhai was instrumental in establishing important institutions including the Community Science Centre, the Darpana Academy for performing arts, the Space Applications Centre in Ahmedabad, Variable Energy Cyclotron Project in Calcutta, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thrivananthapuram, Faster Breeder Test Reactor in Kalpakkam, Uranium Corporation of India Limited in Jaduguda, Bihar and Electronics Corporation of India ltd. in Hyderabad.
Basic Details Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)
- Formed: 15th August, 1969
- Headquarters: Bangalore, Karnataka
- Preceding Agency: INCOSPAR
- Type: Space Agency
- Founder: Vikram Sarabhai
- Present Chairman: Sreedhara Somnath
The Indian Space Research Organization, commonly referred as ISRO, is the national space agency of India. It operates as the primary research and development arm of the Department of Space (DoS), which is directly overseen by the Prime Minister of India and the Chairman of ISRO acts as the executive of DoS.