City Celebrates Mars Trip Success

The New Indian Express , (September 25, 2014)

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Ok, so this time we have no plans to actually land on Mars. But some day in the future we might. So what would a "Mars rover" look like? How does one work anyway? If you were at the Kerala State Science and Technology Museum (KSSTM) on Wednesday morning, you would've got an idea.

Using miniature robots at their robotics gallery, KSSTM officials performed a demo for visitors who turned up for various programmes organised to mark India's tryst with Mars. "The demo was performed using omni-directional and bi-directional vehicles - small robotic vehicles - at the gallery. It gave visitors a general idea about how Mars rovers function," KSSTM director Arul Jerald Prakash said.

The programme at KSSTM was merely one of many organised across the capital city to celebrate India's trip to Mars. Schools organised live streaming of updates while ISRO institutions in the city which played a crucial role in the Mars Orbiter Mission switched to celebration mode once the "result" was out by 8.15 a.m.

"This is a big step for the Indian space programme. I'm sure that this mission will be engraved in the history of Indian science in golden letters," Mayor K Chandrika said. "The Mars Mission is also testimony to the dedication and brilliance of our space scientists," Chandrika said.

Officials of BrahMos Aerospace Thiruvananthapuram Ltd (BATL), the missile firm at Chakkai, expressed satisfaction that they were able to be a part of the success. BATL had manufactured many of the parts for the PSLV rocket which launched the mission in November 2013 and some components in the MOM. "We are thankful for the opportunity given to us for manufacturing IRU Housing Electronic Module Components and Reaction Wheel Bearing systems for MOM," BATL MD Commander (Retd) Vinod Shankar said.

Schools also celebrated the feat with gusto. Kendriya Vidyalaya Pattom on Wednesday organised a live streaming of updates on the mission on its campus premises for students. The telecast was organised as part of an initiative by Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan for students from class I to XII. The mission was streamed live from the internet and projected on a screen for the students at the school's main auditorium. Ajayakumar, principal, said; "The event was conducted in KVs across the country as part of making students a part of this historic moment and also inspiring that spark of curiosity in them to know more." MGM school at Aakkulam also celebrated the moment by distributing toffees and sweets. Principal Muraleedharan Nair briefed students on the expedition and the future mission of the Mangalyaan.

Friends of Trivandrum, a city-based forum, celebrated ISRO's maiden Mars mission with a special offering at the Pazhavangadi Ganapathi Temple. Early in the morning, a Ganapathi homam was held to "remove obstacles" in the path of the mission as it moved into Mars orbit. After news broke that MOM was safely in orbit around Mars, sweets were distributed all around. Health Minister V S Sivakumar, former space scientist Nambi Narayanan, BJP leader Karamana Jayan were present.

Anxious moments

Scientists and staff of various ISRO units in the city - who played crucial roles in the Mars mission - spent anxious moments as the mission entered its final phase on Wednesday morning. Video footage from ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC), Bangalore, which coordinates all MOM operations, was telecast live on a big screen at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC).

"Special buses were arranged for the staff so that they could watch the progress from the VSSC itself. The hall was jam-packed," a scientist said. "Otherwise business went on as usual," he said.

The ISRO units including VSSC and LPSC are waiting for their directors to return from Bangalore to properly celebrate the feat.

  • "Time has come for BrahMos Aerospace to work on Mark-II version of BRAHMOS so that we will still be the market leader in hypersonic cruise missiles." - Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam

  • "The traditional partnership between India & Russia has been tested by the time and time and it is the most important stabilizing factor, not only for the asian region, but for the whole world" - Vladimir Putin

  • "Make in India' should not be limited to production & manufacturing only, it should also involve generation of engineering knowledge in the country." - Mr. Sudhir Kumar Mishra

  • "BrahMos is not only a successful Joint Venture but also a model for cooperation which has immense political value for our two countries" - Mr. Dmitry Rogozin

  • "BrahMos JV is a unique venture which has given substantial guidelines in defence design inputs, engineering inputs, production related culture and ultimately in pushing the technology base forward" - Dr. V G Sekaran

  • "BrahMos JV is most suitable model, which has withstood the test of time and is recommended to be followed for realization of all high end products with our country." - Dr. V K Saraswat

  • "BrahMos is the most successful missile company of the nation and it is this unique blend of young and experienced team members motivated with innovation and utmost dedication that has contibuted to the success of the missile system" - Dr. Avinash Chander