Vikram Sarabhai Space CenterVikram Sarabhai Space Center or Vikram Sarabhai Antariksha Kendra is one of the major wings of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) in India. It is located in the city of Thiruvananthapuram or Trivandrum in the state of Kerala. This wonderful organization is named after the most honored scientist of India, Dr. Vikram Sarabhai who is also known as father of space program in the country.
About Vikram Sarabhai Space Center in ThiruvananthapuramIt was started as a launching station for ISRO under the name of TERLS (Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station) during the year 1962. Later, it named after the great scientist Dr. Vikram Sarabhai and entrusted with indigenous facilities for space research and development center. Now, it is one of main research centers of ISRO working in the field of development of sounding rockets and launchers. They are building advance launching systems like Rohini and Menaka along with ASLV, PSLV, and GSLV etc.
VSSC (Vikram Sarabhai Space Center) is engaged in developing satellite launch vehicles as well as similar technologies. Primarily, incepted for the development of advancing technology in launching space vehicle, it has now distinct advantage on technology of composites, aeronautics and avionics.
It is an ISO 9001:2000 certified entity for its quality management systems. This space station is established with the vision to ensure quality management in planning, implementation and maintenance in its designing, production, development, as well as operations. The management system of this space station includes human resources development, planning and evaluation, technology transfer, budget and manpower, documentation, etc.
History of Vikram Sarabhai Space Center ThiruvananthapuramIt is a known fact that VSCC is a primary institution for Indian space programs. During the year 1962, INCOSPAR or Indian National Committee for Space Research was established. This committee laid the foundation of TERLS at Thiruvananthapuram. This decision was taken due to the strategic location of Thumba on the geomagnetic equator which is ideal for such complex space programs. India’s first venture to space was carried out from this station in November 1963. It was named as Nike Apache Sounding Rocket which was built in USA.
Later on in 1967, Indian scientists at TERLS designed the first indigenous rocket called RH-75. It was the 52nd sounding rocket launch from this station. Till 1968, RH-15 has 15 successful launches from here. Since then, around 2200 sounding rockets were launched from this space station. In February, 1968, then Indian Prime Minister, Smt. Indira Gandhi dedicated this station to the United Nations. Without any funding from UN, this station was used for space related experiments by the scientists from countries like Russia, Germany, USA, Japan, UK, and France. From the period of 1970 to 1993, about 1161 meteorological sounding rockets, M-100 of USSR were launched from TERLS.
The space centre was named after Dr. Vikram Sarabhai in 1971 after his sudden demise to honour his contributions to Indian space projects. Till 1980s, VSCC achieved many landmarks including development of SLV-3 and ASLV for the launch of satellites into the orbit of the earth. It was also significant to the development of Chandrayaan 1, the first mission to moon by India.
Facilities under VSSC ThiruvananthapuramWith a large strength of around 4500 employees including prominent scientists, there are several other facilities apart from the ones at Thumba and Veli. These facilities include:
- Integration and checkout facility at Valiamala
- Development of reinforced plastics and composites facility in Vattiyoorkavu
- Experimental plant for solid propellant motors facility in Aluva
- Space Physics Laboratory within VSCC campus
Achievements of Vikram Sarabhai Space Center Thiruvananthapuram
- This centre has been instrumental in success of many Indian endeavors to reach in the space. It is a pioneer for launch vehicle technology in the country. In the four years since its establishment, it has carried out many successful projects that include:
- Leading programs like Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle or PSLV, Rohini sounding rocket launching, Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle or GSLV, air breathing propulsion, space capsule recovery experiment, as well as reusable launch vehicles.
- Development of sounding rockets along with operational space transportation system
- It has carried out the development and safe return of Space Capsule Recovery Experiment or SRE-1 module. The technologies involved in this project included thermal protection systems that are important to withstand the heat flux experienced at the time of entry in earth’s atmosphere.
- Currently, it is working on the development of GSLV MK-III and RLV-TD.
- Development of air breathing techniques including reusable launch vehicle to be tested in the near future
- The achievements of VSCC also include its R&D in the fields like solid propellant formulation and navigation systems at ISRO inertial systems unit in Vattiyoorkavu.
- It also carried out R&D in avionics, aeronautics, launch vehicle design, control guidance and stimulation, propulsion propellants and space ordinance, propellant polymers and materials, vehicle integration and testing, mechanical engineering, etc
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