Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Capturing the GSLV disintegration

                                                                Pix by Vijaykumar



                                                       Launch from Youtube

         On Christmas Day, just before 4 p.m., a group of employees of Madras Fertilisers at Manali in Chennai gathered on the grounds of their establishment with a sense of eager anticipation and excitement.

        Among them was 47-year-old star struck D.Vijaykumar, whose hobby is amateur astronomy.

        Why should all of them leave their work stations and assemble outside their offices? Any idea.To witness the lift off of the GSLV.

         As the moment was ticking away the feeling of excitement increased and as the mighty rocket shot into sight travelling in a yellowish plume of smoke, Vijaykumar instantly focussed his mobile camera on the spectacular launch and began clicking away every stage of what seemed to be then a grand take off carrying the heaviest indigenous satellite, the GSat-5P weighing 2310 kg.

         Speaking to ``Beyond Moon and Mars (BMM)''  from Chennai on Tuesday night Vijaykumar said that his office is situated nearly 70 kms from Sriharikota. Despite the vast distance, he and his colleagues could easily observe the launch.

         Recalled Vijaykumar: ``As I was clicking away everything seemed to be going okay initially. But, suddenly I saw that the rocket was changing its trajectory. I felt totally at a loss and was disappointed because we felt that it will be super success. All of us were quite disappointed,'' he told BMM.

        Vijaykumar said that the historical pics will be a part of his personal collection. ``This was the first time I was photographing a rocket launch,'' he said, while pointing out that he has not taken a video. The superb and powerful pics were e mailed to BMM by its friend, Suhas Satam Naik of the Nehru Planetarium. Once again BMM thanks Suhas for the pics.

        A few hours later on Tuesday my friend, Pradeep Mohandas, mailed a video of the GSLV launch and its disintegration taken by another amateur cameraman from the terrace---may be that of Brahm Prakash Hall--of a building at Sriharikota  BMM feels that it could be from Brahm Prakash Hall because it could identify the water tank from where it has stood all these years and covered launches including that of Chandrayaan-1 on October 22,2008.

       Thanks Pradeep because this is one of the best videos BMM has ever seen taken by an amateur cameraman of a rocket launch. The clip clearly shows that emotions of the huge crowd, the excitement and thrill sparked by the grand lift off--all the shouting and screaming. This mood of celebration soon gives way to a tremendous sense of disappointment as the rocket disintegrates and falls into the Bay of Bengal. This is clearly brought out in the video.

       BMM has a number of CDs and DVDs of the Chandrayaan launch.

       Undoubtedly, the best are those taken by the amateurs.



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