I was in High School when one word became very popular among the students in 1957. Sputnik. It was the satellite that USSR launched into space and which panicked the USA into the space race. The next exciting thing that happened was the launch of Sputnik 2 which also carried a dog Laika. Many dogs were named Laika after this star became the first outer space explorer.
The next living being to catch the imagination of all of us was Ham.. Tarzan had already popularised chimpanzees in films and Ham introduced a chimpanzee to the Indian film world in the form of Zippy.
So outer space exploration started off with two non human living beings who led the adventure in the late 1950s.
While rockets going into space became quite normal, the first human being to venture into space was Yuri Gagarin a Russian cosmonaut who became a hero for all Indians who were at that time firmly in the camp opposite to the USA called the Non Aligned Nations.
Again it was the USSR that sent the only Indian so far to have gone on a space mission Rakesh Sharma in 1984.
In the meanwhile, India was building its own Space set up somewhat like NASA but of a different nature as India was and is not interested in any Space Race. The ISRO has brought a lot of pride to our nation with its Rocket Launches and space explorations. Its success can be understood if my readers realise that ISRO has so far launched 328 satellites for other countries besides those that it has launched for its own purposes.
I have deliberately focussed on India’s contribution to Space Exploration as I suspect that many of my readers are not aware of its contribution. Everyone knows about NASA, its successes as well the Russian adventures but for some strange reason, India’s contribution has been kept hidden by the Western media for reasons best known to itself.
Our Space adventures also gave us a remarkable human being who was our President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, for one term and became a household name for his remarkable humanity and simplicity.
I now look forward to reading the take from the rest of seven bloggers who should be posting soon.
This is my contribution to this week’s Friday 8 On 1 blog post topic. The other seven bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Maria. Sanjana, Padmum, Raju, Shackman , Srinivas and Conrad. This week’s topic was suggested by Conrad. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. T