(3) Description of Aryabhatta and Us launching
(4) Mission of Aryabhatta
(5) Success achieved by Aryabhatta
(6) Criticism by people
The great Space Age began on October 4, 1957 when Russia sent up Sputnik I into our space. It was shot at a speed of more than 7 miles per second. It went round the earth in 96 minutes at a height of about 500 miles and at a speed of 18,000 miles per hour. Soon after America, too, put her small satellite into orbit round the earth. Since then a regular race in space exploration has been going on between Russia and America.
The important landmark in the history of the Space Age was the landing on the moon in July 1969. Two American astronauts Neil Armstong and Adwin Aldrin set their foot on the face of the moon. Rockets have been sent to the Venus and Mars.
India entered the Space Age on 19th April, 1975 by sending a satellite named ‘ Aryabhatta’ into the outer space. The satellite was named after a great Indian mathematician and astronomer of the fifth century A.D.
The satellite had 111 cm height and 147 cm diameter. It has the diamond shape with 26th faces of blue and violet colours. It was launched by means of Russian rocket and from the Russian commodore. But it was entirely Indian designed and made at the Space Centre in Bangalore. India is the eleventh country which has orbited her satellite. The U.S.A, U.S.S.R., U.K., France, Japan and China have their own delivery systems. The rest Canada, Italy, Australia and the Federal Republic of Germany have launched their satellites’ with the help of American rockets.
Aryabhatta was sent up to explore space. Its mission in space was threefold :
(1) Detection and study of X-rays emission from the outer space. It was hoped to detect highly dense objects called ‘Neuton Stars’ and ‘Black holes’.
(2) The study of solar neutrons and gamma rays emanating from the sun.
(3) Detection of super thermal electrons and the ultra-violet background.
The data transmitted by Aryabhatta was received by three tracking stations located at three different parts of the world at Sriharikota near Chennai, in Moscow and at a space centre in France. Orders and guidance were sent to Aryabhatta from Central Stations at Sriharikota. The satellite was designed to last for six months only.
The experiment proved that the country had achieved a tremendous breakthrough in communication satellite technology. Prof. Rao claimed that Aryabhatta has executed very faithful all the 250 commands sent to its. The satellite had been sending data every time without fail during its orbit round the earth. The data analysed so far had proved very valuable and it is proving very useful at present.
Some people have criticized India for launching her satellite by means of Russian Rocket. According to them she ought to have sent her satellite by means of her own rockets and from her own launching pad. The fact is that India is doing her best to have her own launching pad with a few years.
In the meanwhile there was no harm in taking the help of a friendly country. We have to race against time and it is always advisable to do something rather than do nothing. The second criticism is that India being a poor country ought not have wasted her time, money, technical skill and energy on making a satellite. She would have rather looked to the needs of her starving millions who are without clothes, houses, food, education etc. Science and technology ought to have employed to banish hunger and poverty.
To this criticism, we can say that we need science and technology to end our age-old poverty and backwardness. We have to depend upon the nuclear power and various scientific data which our satellites can discover and transmit to us. The nuclear power will enable us to dig wells and canals, smash mountains, join seas, explore oil and water in abundance from under the ground.
Hence the exploration of our satellites might enable us to create artificial rains which will be so useful for our desert regions. They might also unfold to us the secret of harnessing solar energy and help us in solving our fundamental problems like hunger and poverty.
The net result of our nuclear programmes would be that India will become economically, militarily and industrially strong. We have no desire to conquer any other country. Our programmes are only for peaceful purposes. Henceforth the super powers will also give us a due share of importance and dignity and dare not ignore us. Keeping in view all these points India is justified in developing her capacity in the fields of nuclear energy and satellite research.