In collaboration with the Indian Space Research Organisation, the Tamil Nadu Science and Technology Centre (TNSTC) has developed a space gallery at the Birla Planetarium at a cost of Rs. 50 lakh. From the first sounding rocket which took off from Thumba, a coastal village in Thiruvanathapuram, on November 21, 1963, to the present-day Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) with a cryogenic rocket engine, the gallery throws light on the development of space technology in India.
“Children will have opportunities to learn about rocket launching techniques and systematic testing of various components, before launching a rocket into space,” says Dr. P. Iyamperumal, executive director, TNSTC.
Displays include Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV), Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle (ASLV), Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) with models of Chandrayaan 1 and Mangalyaan.
A scaled-down model of PSLV, the workhorse of ISRO, and a space recovery vehicle are a few other technological advancements that are being showcased.
The photo information at the gallery takes visitors through the formative years of ISRO which include ‘Rohini’, a series of sounding rockets developed by ISRO, launch vehicles of ISRO, Indian Regional Navigational System Satellite, remote-sensing satellite applications, Indian Remote Sensing Satellites, applications of INSAT, models of Chandrayaan PSLV – XL Cryogenic Engine , Vikas Engine , GSLV MK III, Kalpana, Resourcesat-2, GSAT – 8 and Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft. Other models include a human space capsule and a mock-up control room, which are aimed at explaining how a rocket is launched into space and communicating the various ways in which the trajectory of a rocket can be observed. A space quiz centre for the children and a video on Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, the father of Indian space programme, and ISRO, are added attractions.