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A heavyweight in space tech

A heavyweight in space tech
India has come a long way since it launched on its journey into space on 23 November 1963. More than 54 years later, on 15 February 2017, it launched 104 satellites from a single rocket over the course of 18 minutes, nearly tripling the previous record for single-day launches. And to announce its firm arrival on the world stage, less than three months later, on 5 June 2017 it launched its heaviest ever rocket, powered by an indigenous engine that used liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen as fuel. This stunning indigenous effort has given the country the luxury of dreaming of placing an Indian in space in the not distant future. A remarkable journey for the Indian Space Research Organisation and its men and women scientists indeed!
Save for the first decade, India’s space research has been an indigenous effort. Led by the US, France, Canada, Australia and other countries blacklisted Indian research organisations and industries following the 1998 Pokhran nuclear explosion, denying India high-tech cooperation in strategic sectors. The “entity list” of the U.S which barred such agreement included four key research centres, including the Satish Dhawan Space Centre. This was also the period when Indian space research establishment showed little interest in collaborating with the other developing countries to expand third world cooperation. I remember an Indian scientist telling me in May 1998 about Brazil’s vain effort to have India build and launch its satellite. He said after trying to get a response from Delhi, Brazil went to China which successfully launched its satellite. Two decades on, ISRO offers a cost-effective platform for 
developing countries. 

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