19 September, 2020

Rocket Science

The trajectory of ISRO and India's space program

Rocket Science
Decades before Gopal Raj decided to pen a history of the Indian space programme, handicapped flying ace Douglas Bader had written the original Reach for the Stars, a record of his endeavour to transcend his limitations. Bader's heart-warming memoir reached only to the sky. Journalist Raj tries to take his book into the final frontier of space itself.

The Indian space programme had humble beginnings but two brilliant midwives. The humble beginnings were epitomised by the "fleet of bicycles" that were deployed as state-of-the-art vehicles for the space workers, the two midwives were none other than the handsome workaholic Vikram Sarabhai and the charismatic Homi Bhabha. It was in a fishing village that India first started to dream about joining the select club of nations that had a space programme, a big, even over-ambitious dream for a nascent Third World country.

Raj's account is an examination of the many decisions that shaped the path of isro, and the book benefits from the access he was given to the organisation. But the access is a double-edged sword for...


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