Karela Fry

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Kicking India into the space age

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The Hindu reviews an in-house history of rocketry in India and comes up with this chilling story:

The SLV-3 was a small and relatively simple launch vehicle. Even so, much of the 1970s went into its development, a reflection of the many different technological elements that had to be mastered and integrated into a single system.

The first launch of the rocket in August 1979 ended in failure. A year later, when the rocket was brought to the launch pad for a second attempt, a problem cropped up. The book narrates how the umbilical cable from the launch tower, which was used to service the satellite, failed to detach and retract shortly before lift-off. Ordinarily, no one is allowed to approach a launch vehicle that is ready to be fired. In this case, however, a technician by the name of Bapaiah volunteered to climb the launch tower. With a kick from him, the recalcitrant umbilical cable came loose and a short while later “India became a space-faring nation.”

Fortunate that Bapaiah did not get fried. Clinical trials in India show the same regard for the lives of poorer people, with much worse results.

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Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

August 28, 2012 at 4:55 am

Posted in history, India

Tagged with ,

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