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.


Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

August 28, 2012 at 4:55 am

Posted in history, India

Tagged with ,

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