ISRO - A Vision of Pt. Nehru

  • Prof. Satyendra Kumar

We congratulate ISRO Chairperson S. Somnath, Director S. Mohankumar, Project Director Biju C. Thomas and all scientists involved in the successful launch of Chandrayan 3 spacecraft on board LVM-3 on July 14, 2023, at 14:35 hrs from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.

India achieved historic lunar landing with Chandrayan 3, making a new era in space exploration. With the triumphant landing of Chandrayan 3 near the Lunar South Pole, India made a momentous stride in its space exploration programme for the country.

Chandrayaan-3 has taken nearly 33 days from the launch date of July 14, 2023, to reach the orbit of the moon.

Chandrayan 3 landing on the lunar South Pole brought India into an exclusive league of nations, making it the pioneering country to successfully navigate this uncharted lunar surface and India becoming the fourth country in the world to achieve such a significant technological capability. The successful soft landing is envisaged to serve as fore-runners for future landing missions and other technological progress in planetary exploration.

The ‘Chandrayan Programme’ also known as the ‘Indian Lunar Exploration Programme’ is an ongoing series of outer space missions by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) for the exploration of the Moon. The programme incorporates a lunar orbiter, an impactor, a soft lander and a rover spacecraft. There have been three missions so far with a total of two orbiters, landers and rovers each. While the two orbiters were successful, the first lander and rover which were part of the Chandrayaan-2 mission, crashed on the surface. The second lander and rover mission Chandrayaan-3 successfully landed on the Moon on August 23, 2023.

Success of Chandrayan 3 is a result of initiatives taken by visionary first Prime Minister of India - Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. During his tenure as Prime Minister of India, Pandit Nehru laid the foundation of India’s rapid growth by establishing various institutions like Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL), Bhabha Atomic Research Organisation, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), National Institute of Technology (NIT), All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Indian Institute of Science, Indian Institute of Management Studies (IIMS) of international repute to serve the needs and aspirations of newly independent India after 200 years of subjugation under British Rule.

During Pandit Nehru’s tenure, PSUs like SAIL, BHEL, GAIL, AIR INDIA, ITC Hotels, Indian Oil Corporation, LIC came into existence. These PSUs propelled growth engine by industrial production and generated employment for millions of Indians.

It is credited to the Prime Minister Pandit Nehru’s glorious legacy that today we landed on the surface of ‘Moon’. When Smt. Indira Gandhi took over the mantle, she focused on building numerous institutions to serve Indian people’s growing aspirations. Smt. Gandhi supported Indian Space Mission by sending Indian Air Force Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma on joint space mission with Soviet Russia.Rakesh Sharma became the first Indian to go into space as part of a joint programme between the Indian Air Force and the Soviet Interkosmos space programme.

Here, we remember PM Modi’s words when during the Mangalyaan Mission of 2014, he had said, “A one-km auto rickshaw ride in Ahmedabad takes Rs. 10 and India reached Mars at Rs. 7 per km which is really amazing.” Today, we are talking about how economical our mission to Chandrayan cost the nation. But now-a-days, massive corruption is being reported in construction of 1350 kms long 8-lane wide Delhi-Mumbai Expressway at a whopping price of 1,00,000 Crore rupees including land cost. This means that the present Modi government is spending almost 700 Crore rupees per Kilometre on the construction of Mumbai-Delhi Expressway. Whereas total cost of Chandrayan Mission cost 250 crores with additional launch costs of365 crores. Numerous such missions can easily be funded at a much lower cost. We have full faith in scientific temperament and capability. If we funded them whole-heartedly, they would certainly give new heights.

The Author is an Assistant Professor, Department of English, Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi

Congratulatory Messages to ISRO Congress President, Shri Mallikarjun Kharge

The success of Chandrayaan-3 is the collective success of every Indian. An elated nation, with 140 crore aspirations, witnessed today yet another achievement in its six-decade long space programme. We are deeply indebted to the remarkable hard work, unparalleled ingenuity and unflinching dedication of our scientists, space engineers, researchers and everyone involved in making this mission a triumph for India.

In 2008, when the Moon Impact Probe (MIP), the Chandrayaan-1 Mission, carrying the Indian National Flag landed on the moon, we became the 4th country to land a scientific device on the moon’s surface. Today, through the Chandrayaan-3, we have displayed our scientific prowess to the world. The immaculate soft-landing of Vikram lander and Pragyaan rover is a fitting tribute to Dr. Homi J Bhabha, Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, Dr. Satish Dhawan, Dr. Meghnad Saha, Dr. Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar, Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam and many other legendary scientists who paved the way for India’s unmatchable progress in the field of space research and scientific dexterity.

The historic Chandrayaan-1 in 2008 confirmed the presence of water molecules on the lunar surface. Chandrayaan-2 detected the presence of chromium, manganese, and sodium for the first time. Mangalyaan Our Mars Orbiter Mission made India the first country to successfully achieve an interplanetary mission, in its maiden attempt.

These accomplishments are a testament to the vision of Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru who emphasized and sincerely believed that a critical commitment to science could drive the spirit of development of our newly independent nation by igniting the spirit and minds of the people. Which was later followed by successive Prime Ministers.

The Congress Party has always believed in advancement of world peace and fellowship, and the descent of #VikramLander on the surface of the moon, is a solemn affirmation of our commitment to use science for peaceful and welfare purposes.

From ‘Aryabhatta Mission’, to Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma’s space ‘Odyssey’ where he said “Sare Jahan Se Achcha Hindostan Hamara” to Chandrayaan Missions, India has come a long way in space research and exploration. Jai Hind! Jai Vigyan!

CPP Chairperson Smt. Sonia Gandhi’s Letter to the ISRO Chairman

This is to let you know how thrilled I was by ISRO’s magnificent achievement last evening. It is a matter of great pride and excitement to all Indians, particularly the younger generation. ISRO’s outstanding capabilities have been built up over decades. It has had remarkable leaders and a spirit of collective endeavour has always driven it. It’s being anchored on self-reliance since the early sixties that has contributed to its great successes.

I wish the entire ISRO fraternity all the very best and extend my warm greetings to each and every member of it on this momentous occasion.

Tweet by former Congress President Shri Rahul Gandhi:

Congratulations to Team ISRO for today’s pioneering feat. #Chandrayaan3’s soft landing on the uncharted lunar South Pole is the result of decades of tremendous ingenuity and hard work by our scientific community. Since 1962, India’s space program has continued to scale new heights and inspire generations of young dreamers.