Aryabhata: First Indian satellite
Aryabhata was India’s first satellite. The Aryabhata was a 26-sided polyhedron 1.4 metres (4.6 ft) in diameter. All faces (except the top and bottom) were covered with solar cells. Its launching mass was 360 kg (794 lb).
The name of satellite was named after the 5th century astronomer and mathematician from India i.e. Aryabhata. As per the ISRO chairman U.R. Rao, three names were suggested for the name of satellite – Aryabhata, Maitri and Jawahar. But, the prime minister Indira Gandhi selected the name “Aryabhata”.
It was built by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) with following main objectives:
- design and fabrication of a satellite and the evaluation of its performance in orbit.
- to have the capability to perform a series of complex operations on the satellite in the orbit.
- to have the capability to set-up the necessary ground stations required to communicate with the satellite.
- to test the capability to fabricate, test and qualify the sophisticated spacecraft systems.
- to conduct scientific experiments in X-ray astronomy, Aeronomics and Solar Physics.
It was launched by the Soviet Union on 19 April 1975 from Kapustin Yar using a Kosmos-3M launch vehicle as at that India did not have the satellite launching facility.
The Aryabhata’s satellite launch came from an agreement between India and the Soviet Union which was directed by U.R. Rao(ISRO chairman) and signed in 1972, which allowed the USSR(Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) to use Indian ports for tracking ships and launching vessels in return for launching India satellites.
On it’s launch, the Aryabhata’s 96.46-minute orbit had an apogee of 611 kilometres (380 mi) and a perigee of 568 kilometres (353 mi), at an inclination of 50.6 degrees.
According the Soviet media reports, the satellite continued to function and transmit information for some time.
A toilet in Bangalore was converted into a data receiving center for India’s first satellite Aryabhata.
The satellite reentered on the Earth’s atmosphere on 11 February 1992.
To mark this historic event, Indian post office launched a stamp of rupees 25 in 1975.
This achievement of ISRO was showcased on the back of the two rupee Banknotes from 1976 onwards.
It was one of the best satellites ever launched by India.