The RH-200 Rohini sounding rocket recorded its 200th consecutive successful launch on Wednesday from Thumba here.
The milestone event was witnessed by former President Ram Nath Kovind, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman S. Somanath, former chairman G. Madhavan Nair and senior officials and veterans of the space agency.
The small rocket lifted off at 11.55 a.m. from the launchpad at the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC).
Sounding rockets are used by the scientific community for carrying out experiments on meteorology, astronomy and similar branches of space physics. The 200th consecutive successful flight stands testimony to the commitment of Indian rocket scientists towards unmatched reliability demonstrated over the years, the VSSC said in a statement.
‘’It is indeed a great feeling to get connected with a milestone event of India’s space programme,’‘ Mr. Kovind said, addressing the ISRO community before the lift-off.
The entire nation is proud of the R&D community of the country at this historic moment, he was quoted as saying in a statement issued by VSSC. November is a significant month for the Indian space programme as it was on November 21, 1963 that the first sounding rocket (a U.S.-made Nike-Apache rocket) lifted off from the Indian soil, he said.
Mr. Kovind also recalled the contributions made by pioneers such as Vikram Sarabhai, Satish Dhawan and A. P. J. Abdul Kalam to the Indian space programme, the statement said.
The RH-200 is a solid motor-powered expendable rocket capable of climbing up to a height of 70 km bearing payloads designed to study the upper atmosphere.
A major accomplishment of launching sounding rockets is the inspiration they generate in the public, especially children, who are allowed to witness it, said Mr. Somanath.
Mr. Kovind, who was accompanied by his wife Savitha Kovind and daughter Swati Kovind, also visited the space museum and the control centre at VSSC.
VSSC director S. Unnikrishnan Nair, former director P. S. Veeraraghavan, Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre director V. Narayanan, ISRO Inertial Systems Unit director Sam Dayala Dev, ISRO Propulsion Complex director Badarinarayana Murthy were also present.