India’s First Satellite

Aryabhata, the first satellite built by India, was launched on April 19, in the year 1975.

• Aryabhata was built by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) to conduct experiments in X-ray astronomy, aeronomics, and solar physics.
• The spacecraft was a 26-sided polygon with a diametre of 1.4 metre.
• The satellite was named Aryabhata by India’s first woman Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi. It was named after the prominent Indian astronomer and mathematician of the 5th century bearing the same name.
• The 360-kilogram satellite built by ISRO was launched by Russia from their Kapustin Yar rocket launch and development site using a Kosmos-3M launch vehicle.
• The agreement between India and the Soviet Union directed by U.R. Rao in 1972 allowed the USSR to use Indian ports for tracking ships and launching vessels as a token for launching Indian satellites.
• The satellite had its data receiving centre in Bangalore, where a toilet was converted to serve the purpose.
• A failure in the satellite’s electrical power system halted experiments for four days. The spacecraft incurred a power fall which resulted in the ceasing of its functioning and transmission of information prior to its launch.
• The project of the satellite was initially pegged at Rs 3 crore but cost a little more, as furniture and other things had to be bought.
• The historic event was celebrated by the Reserve Bank of India and the satellite’s image appeared on the reverse of Indian 2 rupee banknotes between 1976 and 1997.
• It had a real-time data transmission rate of 256 bits/sec with an internal temperature ranging from 0 to 40 degrees Celsius.
• Aryabhata re-entered Earth’s atmosphere after 17 years of its former launch on February 11, 1992.
• Aryabhata may not have been a complete success the project opened new possibilities for ISRO which runs most cost-effective space program in the world.