November has special importance for the ISRO because it was in November 21, 1963, that the first rocket roared into the sky from Thumba. In the four decades since then, more than 3000 sounding rockets have been flown for various experiments, said P S Thakker, senior scientist with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The sounding rockets were the early rudimentary rockets when the technology was at the begining stage.
Since then, India has taken rapid strides in space technology and brought several benefits to the nation, Thakker added. A picture in the back cover of an ISRO journal of Oct-Dec 2003 issue showing this Nike-Apache rocket being taken on a cycle by a man for lift-off tells poignantly the tale of rapid advancement in Indias space technology.
ISRO has now achieved technological excellence. In 1980, it launched successfully SLV-3 which weighed about 17 tons at lift off and placed Rohini satellite weighing about 40 kg in the orbit.
Now, it has the capacity to take 1,600 kg and 2,000 kg satellites into the polar orbit and geosynchronous transfer orbit using the PSLV and GSLV respectively, Thakker added. ISRO is now developing the GSLV mark III which will have fewer stages and better reliability besides much reduced cost once the new vehicle is developed, Thakker said adding it would open new avenues in future.