ISRO celebrates 99th birth anniversary of its first chairman Vikram Sarabhai

Vikram Sarabahi was awarded the Padma Vibhushan (posthumously) in 1972 and the Padma Bhushan in 1966.

Marking the 99th birth anniversary of India's space pioneer Vikram Sarabhai, the state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Sunday unveiled his bust at its headquarters in Bengaluru.

The space agency's former chairmen K Kasturirangan and AS Kiran Kumar and incumbent chairman K Sivan were present on the occasion at the Antriksh Bhavan.

Sarabhai was born on 12 August, 1919, in Ahmedabad. Gujarat. He died on 30 December, 1971, at the age of 52 at Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.

As the founding father of the Indian space programme, Sarabhai set up the Physical Research Laboratory in Ahmedabad in 1947 as a precursor to the ISRO.

"Sarabhai chose space technology to reduce inequality. Under his guidance and leadership, India has been able to achieve what he had envisioned," Sivan said.

The space agency will mark Sarabhai's birth centenary in 2019 and celebrate the event through the year with space-related activities.

"To mark the centenary, knowledge centres will be set up across the country and scholarships, fellowships and the Sarabhai international award for innovation in space technology will be presented," Sivan said.

File image of Vikram Sarabhai. Image courtesy: ISRO

File image of Vikram Sarabhai. Image courtesy: ISRO

The unveiling of his statue (bust) is being observed as a curtain raiser to his birth centenary.

The proposal to name Chandrayaan-2 lander as "Vikram" was approved by the Department of Space.

"As the true tribute we can offer Sarabhai is through our space missions, we will launch nine missions over the next five months, with at least two a month," Sivan asserted.

Sarabahi was awarded (posthumously) the Padma Vibhushan in 1972, Padma Bhushan in 1966 and Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar medal in 1962.

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