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Updated: November 25, 2013 20:24 IST

RH 200 launch spotlights TERLS' humble beginning

Staff Reporter
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RH 200 takes to the sky to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the TERLS in
Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday.Photo: Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre
RH 200 takes to the sky to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the TERLS in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday.Photo: Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre

On November 21, 1963, a small U.S.-built rocket was fired from Thumba

Rohini (RH) 200 took to the sky at 6.25 p.m. on Thursday from the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) to mark the golden jubilee of the first successful launch of a sounding rocket from Indian soil, the beginning of India’s big leap forward in space exploration.

It was on this day in 1963, a small American-built rocket named Nike Apache was fired at 6.25 p.m. from Thumba, a fishing hamlet near here, which was chosen by Vikram Sarabhai and his team of scientists for its proximity to the earth’s magnetic equator.

Since then, the TERLS has grown rapidly. RH 200, built indigenously, which carried copper chaff as payload, was the 2,328th test flight.

RH 200 was a two-stage spinning and fin-stabilised vehicle, with 200 mm in diameter and 3,875 mm in length, weighing 114 kg. These types of rockets are extensively used for meteorological studies and the chaff they release is tracked with the help of radars for processing wind data.

‘A low-key affair’

“The day being a momentous occasion we wanted to make it a major event. However, we had to keep it a low-key affair as the top scientific community of the Indian Space Research Organisation is busy with the Mars orbiter probe and the scheduled launch of the GSLV. We would organise a major event to felicitate the top scientists, including A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who worked for the first launch from here,” TERLS Deputy General Manager Koshy Mammen told The Hindu.

Corrections & Clarifications

The fourth paragraph of “RH 200 launch spotlights TERLS’ humble beginning” (Nov. 22, 2013) talked about rockets used for metrological studies. It should have been meteorological studies.

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Nov 21, 2013, the Golden Jubilee anniversary of the first Thumba-
Rocket-Launching, is a nostalgic, memorable and historic day,
particularly for rocket-science and satellite launch vehicle people
(Rohini Engineers) of those earlier days of TERLS and SSTC at
Trivandrum. Also, Nov 21, 1967 is marked as the successful launch of
the first indigenous Rohini Sounding Rocket from Thumba. Over the last
50 years, ISRO has grown well, truly emerging as a Space Power,
adequately demonstrating that prophetic '2nd to none' wish of Dr
Vikram Sarabhai. May ISRO and ISRO people continue to bring glory to
themselves, their friends and the country.

from:  Ved Prakash Sandlas
Posted on: Nov 22, 2013 at 10:36 IST
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