BENGALURU: As Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the nation in paying rich tributes to Dr Vikram Sarabhai on his birth centenary on Monday, the space pioneer's former colleagues, living in Bengaluru, the city where he worked on cosmic rays under Nobel laureate Sir C V Raman's guidance, reminisced about their friendly chief at the ISRO.
“Dr Sarabhai's charm was almost mesmeric" says Dr Ramabhadran Aravamudan, the first rocket scientist recruited by the founding father of the space programme, in 1962. It was his charisma at play every time he ventured to draw young engineers and scientists to the space programme during its nascent years, even if it meant adding one scientist or engineer at a time to the core group.
“It was more like a meeting of friends rather than an interview where he sold his space programme rather than a budding scientist or engineer trying to impress him (Dr Sarabhai) about his credentials. He travelled abroad often and during every visit, he made it a point to meet and invite young Indian scientists and engineers to join the space programme. It was his ability to inspire them with his ideas about satellites and rockets,when none had seen one, which made people working abroad, give up their jobs and join our space programme," added Dr Aravamudan, retired Director, ISRO Satellite Centre, Bengaluru.
Another former colleague, Mr C R Sathya, recalls his interactions with Dr Sarabhai about Rohini-300 sounding rockets and the letter of appreciation he received during nascent years of the space programme. A day before his demise, Dr Sarabhai interacted with 30-odd young scientists and engineers including Mr Sathya in the morning, and senior colleagues in the evening, in Thiruvananthapuram....