India's first satellite was launched on 19th April 1975. It was called Aryabhata named after the first Indian astronomer who was also a great mathematician. It was launched from Kapustin Yar in a Russian rocket. Built by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the achievement completes 43 years today. It was a major thing for the ISRO and was commemorated in different ways. It can be a called an important step which kick-started the journey of India into space. Today we are launching many more satellites and doing a lot of research about the universe.
Let us understand a few facts of the first man-made Indian satellite in remembrance of the significant mission.
- The satellite was named as Aryabhata by Indira Gandhi, the first woman Prime Minister of the country. The other two names suggested were Maitri (which translates to friendship) and Jawahar (after her father, India's first PM, Jawaharlal Nehru)
- The launch of the satellite came from an agreement between India and Soviet Union. It was directed by UR Rao, a space scientist and then chairman of ISRO. The agreement allowed USSR to use Indian ports to track the ships and launching vessels in return of our satellites.
- The satellite was built to conduct experiments in X-ray astronomy, aeronomics and solar physics. It weighed 360 kilogram and was of a diameter of 1.4 metre. It was a 26-sided polyhedron.
- To receive the data for the satellite, a toilet was converted into a research centre in Bangalore.
- The Aryabhata completed one revolution around the earth every 96.46 minutes. The closest point to the Earth was 568 kilometers and farthest was at 611 kilometers.
- Before the launch of Aryabhata it faced electrical power system failure. The repair took four days as the power failure stopped the functioning and transmission of information.
- The estimated cost of this project was Rs. 3 crores but it was more because of the infrastructure that had to be bought in the creation.
- A moment so historic was celebrated by the Reserve Bank of India by printing Rs. 2 notes with the image of the satellites. These notes were in circulation from 1976 to 1997.
- Along with the notes, both the Indian and Russian governments also released stamps with the flags and image of the satellites.
- The mission lasted for nearly 17 years. It re-entered the Earth's atmosphere on February 10, 1992.
In its recent missions, ISRO will be sending the second moon mission- Chandrayaan-2 soon. It was initially scheduled for this month but now will be launched somewhere around the months of October-November. Aryabhata's launch has been very significant for India and one of our greatest achievements.