Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Congrats Isro. U have done it.

       It was all smiles in the mission control room at Sriharikota on Wednesday morning.

       Tonight Isro scientists will perhaps uncork the champagne bottle.And the first to do it could even by Isro chairman, K.Radhakrishnan, who has suffered a spate of misfortunes ever since he took command of the space agency in October/ November 2009.

       Why not? 

       After two consecutive failures of the Geo Synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) and the controversy relating to the Antix-Devas deal, which plunged Isro into a deep crisis, Isro began bouncing back today --to use the phrase of Tifr space scientist, Mayank Vahia.

       The 44.4 metre tall Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) carrying three satellites---Resourcesat-2, YouthSat, a joint Indo-Russian venture and a brain child of APJ Abdul Kalam, and X-Sat from Singapore, lifted Isro out of its crisis, atlleast partially. The much awaited lift off was at sharp 10.12 a.m. from Sriharikota. Eighteen minutes later the three satellites were placed in their respective orbits amidst thunderous applause from those in the mission control room.

       Frankly, ``Beyond Moon and Mars (BMM)'' was a little apprehensive because when it activated the TV and tuned on to DD National, there was an nterview with Raja Ramanna, the father of the Indian nuclear bomb. It was the same interview which was shown on December 25,2011 just before the telecast of the GSLV launch began. The GSLV took off and headed straight towards the sea!

      BMM is a close friend and admirer of Ramanna. But, sometimes one becomes a little supersititious. So when the telecast of the Ramanna interview began just before the PSLV launch coverage, BMM hoped in a light hearted way that the PSLV flight will not be a replay of the Christmas day GSLV mission!

      But the flight proved that superstitious should be set aside. One needs to know that space folks are generally extremely superstitious, Read about the rituals followed by Russian cosmonauts before they take off! 

      And the PSLV did succeed. And what a success. Everyone in the mission control room heaved a sigh of relief and the day undoubtedly belonged to mission director P.Kunhi Krishnan. All their prayers were answered. Watching the lift off with BMM were workmen who are refurbhing the house. They were all excited and thrilll seeing the awesome rocket lift off travelling in a plume of yellowish and white smoke. Ever since they have started working in this house most of them have been converted into space freaks! 

      After the success of the mission was formally declared by Isro chairman, K.Radhakrishnan, BMM contacted scientists in Mumbai,  Pune and Kolkata for their response. All of them said that the success will restore the image of Isro which had been bruised by the two failures of the GSLV and the Antrix-Devas controvery.

     Surprisingly, the best quote came from director of Nehru Planetarium, Piyush Pandey, with whom BMM always had quarrels regarding the wording of his reactions. But, today there was no fight or argument and BMM decided went to the extent of even leading with his comment while filing a report for The Times of India.

     Let these smiles remain during the next missions.

     We are told that there will be quite a number of them.

     Good wishes and God Speed.       

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