Google today (Aug. 12) paid tributes to Vikram Sarabhai, the father of Indian space programme, with a doodle created for his 100th birth anniversary.
The illustration used on Google’s home page was done by Mumbai-based artist Pavan Rajurkar.
Sarabhai established the Indian National Committee for Space Research in 1962, which was later renamed the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Born in 1919 in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad, Sarabhai earned his doctorate at the University of Cambridge.
Before setting up ISRO, he helped establish several institutions in the country, including the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) in November 1947 and the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad in 1961.
He was responsible for making India’s satellite dream a reality and worked on the country’s first satellite—Aryabhata. Unfortunately, he passed away in 1971, before it could be launched. The satellite was put in orbit in 1975, four years after his demise.
Vikram Sarabhai posthumously received the Padma Vibhushan, one of India’s highest civilian honours in 1972. He was earlier conferred the Padma Bhushan in 1966. In 1973, a crater on the moon was also named after him.
Sarabhai was among the first ones to convince the Indian government for the need of India’s own space mission.
“There are some who question the relevance of space activities in a developing nation. To us, there is no ambiguity of purpose. We do not have the fantasy of competing with the economically advanced nations in the exploration of the moon or the planets or manned space-flight,” he had said, emphasising the need for the space programme for developing countries like India. “But we are convinced that if we are to play a meaningful role nationally, and in the community of nations, we must be second to none in the application of advanced technologies to the real problems of man and society.”
Sarabhai was also chairman of India’s atomic energy commission. With the support of Homi Jehangir Bhabha, popularly known as the father of India’s nuclear science programme, Sarabhai established the country’s first rocket-launching station at Thumba near Thiruvananthapuram in southern India.
He also founded a community science centre at Ahmedabad in 1966, now renamed Vikram A Sarabhai Community Science Centre. Below are some of the popular institutions in India, established by him.
To celebrate Sarabhai’s illustrious life, ISRO has announced year-long celebrations beginning today, with a curtain raiser event in Ahmedabad. The space agency has said that over 100 events will be organised in 100 select cities across the country
The festivities will conclude a year later in Thiruvananthapuram and a commemorative coin will be issued on the occasion.
Sarabhai’s birth centenary comes just weeks after the successful launch of India’s Chandrayaan-2 mission to the moon.