Golden Jubilee Celebration of TERLS
Thumba began its operation with launch of Nike Apache, a two stage US sounding rocket weighing 715 kg with a payload of 30 kg which reached an altitude of 207 km on November 21, 1963 at 18.25 hrs fueling the beginning of modern rocket based research in India. After four years, on November 20, 1967 at 09.50 hrs the first indigenously developed sounding rocket Rohini-75 (RH-75) with a total weight of 7 kg and length 1020 mm and diameter 75 mm was launched and it reached an altitude of 9.3 km beginning the era of Indian rocketry.
On February 02, 1968, the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launch Station (TERLS) was dedicated to United Nations by the then Prime Minister of India Smt Indira Gandhi with the launch of Nike Apache at 18.56 hrs IST carrying Langmuir probe and Try-methyl Aluminum (TMA) payload as an international range for carrying out experiments near magnetic equator using sounding rockets with the goal of using outer space for peaceful applications. The rocket reached an altitude of 173 km. This marked another milestone in the history of Indian Space Programme.
In addition to the Rohini series of sounding rockets, various foreign rockets namely M100 from USSR, Nike Apache, Nike Tomahawk, Arecas and Judi Dart from US, Centaur and Dragon from France, Suke-I & II and Petral from UK (few to mention) were also launched from TERLS.
ISRO currently uses RH200, RH300 Mk-II and RH-560 Mk-II rockets, which are launched from VSSC and SDSC. The advantages of Rohini rockets are its versatile nature; low cost and short lead-time. They are used as privileged tool to explore upper atmosphere and the ideal test platform for evaluation of various technologies providing both scientific and technical expertise to the Indian Space ventures. So far, more than 1500 Rohini Rockets have flown successfully. A scientific campaign named ‘Sooryagrahan 2010’ to investigate the eclipse induced effects on the atmosphere by the longest annular solar eclipse of the millennium, was conducted.
VSSC celebrated the Golden Jubilee of first launch of indigenous sounding rocket and dedication of TERLS to United Nations on February 02, 2018 in an event with the presence of Dr K Sivan, Chairman, ISRO/Secretary, DOS, former directors Shri. P P Kale and Dr. A E Muthunayagam and other senior functionaries of ISRO. Dr K Sivan mentioned in his inaugural address that the last five decades in ISRO space missions had been glorious and the future holds more challenges. He also highlighted the journey, which started under the leadership of Prof. Vikram A. Sarabhai, followed by Prof. Satish Dhawan and Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, flourished under the leadership of many stalwarts producing outstanding results. A Plaque commemorating the golden jubilee was unveiled by Chairman, ISRO.
Shri. S Somanath, Director, VSSC presided over the function and released a souvenir titled ‘Genesis’. In his presidential address lauded the contributions of former employees and mentioned that the team has built a legacy through the development.
A curtain raiser video narrating the evolution of 50 years of rocketry in India and the impressive strides made in shaping the rocket technology was showcased. All former employees of TERLS & Rohini Sounding Rockets (RSR) who were a part of the journey were felicitated. At the end of the event, Chairman, ISRO and other dignitaries witnessed the RH-200 sounding rocket launch carrying chaff payload powered by indigenous super capacitor from TERLS Range.
Prof. Sarabhai addressing the gathering on the occasion of dedication of TERLS to the United Nations in the presence of the Prime Minister, Smt. Indira Gandhi on February 02, 1968
Inaugural Address by Chairman, ISRO
Unveiling of Plaque commemorating the golden jubilee by Chairman, ISRO
Release of Souvenir
Chairman, ISRO and other dignitaries witnessing the RH-200 Launch