A rare photo of India’s first Satellite Aryabhata during integration, & launched on April 19, 1975
On the 41st anniversary of Aryabhata’s launch, here are 9 amazing facts about the first unmanned Indian Earth satellite, you probably didn’t know:
1. The satellite was named Aryabhata by India’s first woman Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi. It was named after the prominent Indian astronomer and mathematician of the 5th century bearing the same name.
Statue of Indian astronomer and mathematician Aryabhata in Pune
2. The 360-kilogram satellite built by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) was launched by Russia from their Kapustin Yar rocket launch and development site using a Kosmos-3M launch vehicle. The agreement between India and the Soviet Union directed by U.R. Rao in 1972 allowed the USSR to use Indian ports for tracking ships and launching vessels as a token for launching Indian satellites.
3. The satellite had its data receiving centre in Bangalore, where a toilet was converted to serve the purpose.
4. A failure in the satellite’s electrical power system halted experiments for four days. The spacecraft incurred a power fall which resulted in the ceasing of its functioning and transmission of information prior to its launch.
5. The project of the satellite was initially pegged at Rs 3 crore but cost a little more, as furniture and other things had to be bought.
6. The historic event was celebrated by the Reserve Bank of India and the satellite’s image appeared on the reverse of Indian 2 rupee banknotes between 1976 and 1997.
1984 USSR stamp featuring Bhaskara-I, Bhaskara-II and Aryabhata satellites
7. To commemorate the event, both India and Russia released commemorative stamps and first day covers.
8. It had a real-time data transmission rate of 256 bits/sec with an internal temperature ranging from 0 to 40 degrees Celsius.
9. Aryabhata re-entered Earth’s atmosphere after 17 years of its former launch on February 11, 1992.