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Vikram Sarabhai: The man after whom India's first private rocket is named

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New Delhi, Nov 18: India's maiden private rocket, Vikram-S carrying three satellites lifted off from the spaceport here on Friday. The 6-metre tall launch vehicle Vikram-S is named after Vikram Sarabhai, the father of the country's space programme and lifted off at 11.30 am. It has been developed by four-year-old startup Skyroot Aerospace.

Vikram Sarabhai: The man after whom Indias first private rocket is named

The three satellites riding piggyback on the rocket are from Chennai-based start-up SpaceKidz, Andhra Pradesh-based N-SpaceTech and Armenian BazoomQ Space Research Lab. The mission is titled "Prarambh" (The beginning).

India's first private rocket Vikram-S built by Skyroot Aerospace lifts off from SriharikotaIndia's first private rocket Vikram-S built by Skyroot Aerospace lifts off from Sriharikota

The maiden mission was developed by four-year-old startup Skyroot Aerospace, named 'Prarambh' (the beginning), that will carry payloads of two Indian and one foreign customer and is set for launch from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)'s launchpad at Sriharikota.

So, who is Vikram Sarabhai?

Vikram Sarabhai, whose full name was Vikram Ambalal Sarabhai, was an Indian physicist and astronomer who initiated space research and helped develop nuclear power in India. Born on August 12, 1919 in Ahmedabad, Vikram came from the famous Sarabhai family who were major industrialists committed to the Indian independence movement.

He was honoured with Padma Bhushan in 1966 and the Padma Vibhushan (posthumously) in 1972. He is internationally regarded as the Father of the Indian Space Program. In spite of his intense involvement with scientific research, Vikram took active interest in industry, business, and development issues as well.

Known as the cradle of space sciences in India, Vikram founded the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) in 1947.

In 1962, Vikram established the Indian National Committee for Space Research in 1962, which was later renamed the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). He also set up the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station in southern India. After the death of physicist Homi Bhabha in 1966, Sarabhai was appointed chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India.

Carrying forward Bhabha's work in the field of nuclear research, Sarabhai was largely responsible for the establishment and development of India's nuclear power plants. He laid the foundations for the indigenous development of nuclear technology for defense purposes, according to Encyclopedia Britannica.

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