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Monday, August 12, 2019

Google celebrates birth centenary of Dr Vikram Sarabhai with a doodle

In India, Cricketers and matinee idols garner more attention than some great people who have taken the Nation to greater heights. Today Google has a doodle for a Great man – Dr Vikram Sarabhai on what would have been his 100th birthday.

Here is a small excerpt of his   convocation address delivered at IIT Madras on August 1, 1965:  Everyone here is undoubtedly familiar with the expression ‘three raised to the power of eighteen’. It is a large number: 38,74,20,489, thirty-eight crore, seventy-four lakh, twenty thousand, four hundred and eighty-nine. What it means in dynamic terms is quite dramatic. If a person spreads gossip to just three others and the same is passed on by each of them to three others, and so on in succession, in just eighteen steps almost the entire population of India would share the spicy story. Note that if each step takes one hour, 90% of the people hear the gossip for the first time only during the seventeenth and the eighteenth hours. Indeed, during the whole of the first 80% of the time, the process affects merely 11% of the population. Even though each individual is partaking in the chain reaction exactly like all the others, who preceded him, that is, he receives information from one person and passes it on to three others, the social impact at a late stage of development hits like an avalanche. .. .. and it is better that Indians talk of our achievement and Nation building than any other thing..

The Nation’s proud moment came from ISRO.  Chandrayaan 2 is on a mission unlike any before. Leveraging nearly a decade of scientific research and engineering development, India's second lunar expedition will shed light on a completely unexplored section of the Moon — its South Polar region. This mission will help us gain a better understanding of the origin and evolution of the Moon by conducting detailed topographical studies, comprehensive mineralogical analyses, and a host of other experiments on the lunar surface. While there, it  will also explore discoveries made by Chandrayaan 1, such as the presence of water molecules on the Moon and new rock types with unique chemical composition. The Orbit of Chandrayaan-2 around the moon will be circularized to 100x100 km orbit through a series of orbital maneuvers. On the day of landing, the lander will separate from the Orbiter and then perform a series of complex maneuvers comprising of rough braking and fine braking. Imaging of the landing site region prior to landing will be done for finding safe and hazard-free zones. The lander-Vikram will finally land near South Pole of the moon on Sep 7, 2019. Subsequently, Rover will roll out and carry out experiments on Lunar surface for a period of 1 Lunar day which is equal to 14 Earth days. Orbiter will continue its mission for a duration of one year.

Indian Space Research Organisation's (Isro) Chandrayaan-2 has sent first pictures of Earth as viewed in space. In a series of tweets, Isro shared the Earth's pictures clicked by LI4 Camera of Chandrayaan-2's Vikram lander on August 3, 2019. The pictures show the Earth in different hues. "Earth as viewed by #Chandrayaan2 LI4 Camera on August 3, 2019 17:34 UT," Isro tweeted along with the pictures.

Moving along,  Newspace India Ltd  (NSIL), the newly created second commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation, has bagged its first contract. A private US space services provider has booked ISRO’s Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV), which is yet to be tested, for launching a spacecraft.  The US provider, Spaceflight, announced on August 8 that it has clinched a deal with NSIL for using the second developmental flight of the under-development SSLV rocket to launch a spacecraft for an “undisclosed US-based satellite constellation customer”. “SSLV is perfectly suited for launching multiple microsatellites at a time and supports multiple orbital drop-offs. We’re excited to add SSLV to our launch portfolio and manage many launches together — first to LEO (low earth orbit) mid-inclinations this year and SSO missions starting in the fall of 2020,” Curt Blake, CEO and President of Spaceflight, said.

Today marks the birth centenary of Vikram Sarabhai, the celebrated industrialist and innovator popularly considered to be the father of the Indian space programme.

Sarabhai founded the Physical Research Laboratory in Ahmedabad in 1947. Three years later, the Government of India set up the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) under the aegis of Homi J. Bhabha. The two organisations subsequently undertook research on atmospheric and space science and spaceflight as well as supported similar efforts around the country. In 1962, Sarabhai set up the Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR) with Bhabha’s support. INCOSPAR assumed responsibility for space-related studies and activities that the DAE had until then overseen. Seven years later, it was supplanted by a larger institution called the Indian Space Research Organisation, marking the start of India’s formalised spaceflight programme. Apart from shaping ISRO in its formative years, he also established the Indian Institute of Management, a community science centre and, with his wife Mrinalini, the Darpana Academy of Performing Arts, all in Ahmedabad. Sarabhai was famously committed to pressing the applications of science and technology to the needs of the nation, and contributed to national efforts in nuclear power generation, industrial organisation, market research and physical science research as well. He passed away on December 30, 1971.
Vikram Sarabhai family – pic credit :

Son of Ambalal Sarabhai, he came from the famous Sarabhai family of India who were major industrialists committed to the Indian independence movement. Vikram Sarabhai married the classical dancer Mrinalini in 1942. The couple had two children. His daughter Mallika gained prominence as an actress and activist, and his son Kartikeya Sarabhai too became an active person in science. During his lifetime, he practiced Jainism.  Ambalal Sarabhai (1890 – 1967) was an Indian industrialist in Ahmedabad. He also participated in India's independence movements. Sarabhai was founder of Sarabhai group of Companies, like Sarabhai Textiles, Calico Textile Mills, Sarabhai Chemicals & others.

Google is honouring Dr Vikram Sarabhai's 100th  birthday with a doodle today.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
12th Aug 2019.

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