It was in November 1963 that India’s first rocket launch took off from a nondescript fishing village called Thumba on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala. The village soon came to be known as the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launch Station. The rocket was so small and light that it was transported on a bicycle to the Thumba launch station.
The first rockets were two-stage rockets imported from Russia (M-100) and France (Centaure). While the M-100 could carry a payload of 70 kg to an altitude of 85 km, the Centaure was capable of reaching 150 km with a payload of approximately 30 kg.
ISRO started launching indigenously made sounding rockets from 1965 and experience gained was of immense value in the mastering of solid propellant technology. In 1975, all sounding rocket activities were consolidated under the Rohini Sounding Rocket (RSR) Programme. RH-75, with a diameter of 75mm was the first truly Indian sounding rocket, which was followed by RH-100 and RH-125 rockets. The sounding rocket programme was the bedrock on which the edifice of launch vehicle technology in ISRO could be built. It is possible to conduct coordinated campaigns by simultaneously launching sounding rockets from different locations. It is also possible to launch several sounding rockets in a single day.
Picture Credit : Google