Episode 71 – TATA Institute for Fundamental Research

The Indian Space Program was initiated by a brilliant nuclear physicist Homi Bhabha who pretty much immediately handed over the space program to Vikram Sarabhai. Bhabha himself pursued the goal of bringing institutionalised fundamental research to India. At the time he saw that as essential for the new emerging independent India.

Book Review – India’s Rise as a Space Power

Title: India’s Rise as a Space Power Publisher: Cambridge University Press, India Pvt Ltd Author: U.R Rao ISBN-10: 9382993487 ISBN-13: 978-9382993483 In the April of 1971, the USSR approached India and offered to launch an Indian satellite. Vikram Sarabhai asked UR Rao to develop and lead the program. In December 1971 Sarabhai died. Perhaps it […]

Episode 68: Stephen H Smith – India’s forgotten rocketeer

Contribution of Stephen H Smith to development of rocketry and the Anglo Indian community in India of which he is a member.

Episode 66: Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre

November 21st 2013 was the 50th anniversary of a rocket launched from India in to space. The launch itself was an all Indian affair but with lots of international support. The rocket was American, carried a French Sodium Vapour payload with assisted by a computer and a helicopter from the Soviet Union. From this meagre […]

Episode 65: ISRO – The early years

The Indian Space Research Organisation formally came in to being in 1972. By then, India had been developing its space program for almost a decade. The first launch to space from Indian soil was a two stage Nike-Apache rocket supplied by USA with a  sodium  payload from France. The rocket delivered a vertical trail of sodium […]

Episode 62 – Vikram Sarabhai

Vikram Sarabhai  is unanimously accepted across India as the “father” of its space program. Not really known well outside India, he died suddenly and prematurely at age of 52 in 1971. He had studied cosmic ray physics and gained his PHD from Cambridge in 1947 the same year India became an independent nation.  He spent […]

Book Review: Vikram Sarabhai – A life

  Title:Vikram Sarabhai: A Life Hardcover: 264 pages Publisher: Viking (India) ISBN-10: 0670999512 ISBN-13: 978-0670999514 Although, any national space programme relies on thousands of individuals, history has a tendency to single out one man (and it usually is a man) as an originator above all others. Sergei Korolev and perhaps Wernher von Braun served that […]

India and Space

November 21st 2013 marks 50 years of the Indian space program. From humble beginnings devoid of infrastructure, experience or trained engineers, India today has an established track record of designing, building and launching satellites for its own national needs and commercially for others. The next few podcast offer a glimpse of the people and achievements […]

Episode 61: Reg Turnill on Wernher von Braun

Like so many in the “space community” I was saddened to hear of the passing of Reg Turnill. He was  the BBC’s aerospace correspondent but is  best known  for covering the American Space program  throughout the 60s and 70s that he documents so well in his book Moonlandings: An eye witness account. He was the […]

Episode 58: Astronauts Joe Engle and Ron Garan

The first  interview in this episode is with astronaut Joe Engle was recorded during his visit to the UK in 2008.   Joe Engle was at the front of the queue  to go to the Moon when NASA cut its Apollo program. His place was taken by the geologist Harrison Schmitt on Apollo 17 – the last manned […]