What was the first project of Dr. Kalam after his return from the U.S? What made Thumb a suitable site for rocket launch?

Dr. Kalam was part of India’s first rocket launch, which happened in 1963, soon after his return from the U.S. It was a great learning experience for Dr. Kalam to work with Dr. Sarabhai, the father of the Indian Space Programme. His vision helped India achieve the milestone of successfully launching its first rocket.

Until 1963, the village of Thumba would not have attracted a second look. It was a typical Kerala fishing hamlet and was quite an unlikely setting for a rocket launch. In the village, a small church dedicated to St Mary Magdalene caught the attention of Dr. Sarabhai, because it was located on Earth’s magnetic equator.

The magnetic equator is an imaginary line around the planet that connects all the points where a magnetic needle, when freely suspended, is horizontal. The magnetic equator is scientifically a very important location, where the Equatorial Electrojet exists, which is a stream of electrons moving across the sky at about 110-120 km above the Earth’s Surface.

The sounding rockets sent out by any space programme, test and study these electrons for research in the field of physics. These rockets are the first steps to establish a full fledged space programme. The low-altitude of Thumba’s location was ideal for upper atmosphere and ionosphere studies.

Thus, Thumba became an ideal site for a rocket launching centre.

Picture Credit : Google 

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