Viewers gallery set up by ISRO to see rocket launches

Sriharikota: ISRO has set up a viewing gallery three kilometres from the launch site of PSLV-C45. This initiative is aimed at attracting people to witness launches first hand.

The gallery was built following requests from the public to witness the launch with the naked eye and to feel the vibrations during a launch. It is part of the Space theme park which will have a museum on space technology. More people and students will be encouraged to know about rockets and study about the work done by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), an official said.

The park was launched on 31 March by ISRO chairman K Sivan and nearly 1,000 people registered using the ISRO website to witness the launch of PSLV-C45 mission from the gallery. The gallery will initially accommodate 5,000 people.

Around 1,200 viewers witnessed the mission and the next mission on wards intake of more people, probably 5,000 people will be allowed and subsequently the capacity will be increased to 10,000. Accommodating individuals at the park, a museum on rockets is also being planned at the venue.

Addressing scientists from the Mission Control Centre after the successful launch of EMISAT, a military satellite and 28 foreign nano satellites on-board PSLV-C45, Sivan said, “…definitely, whoever did not get a chance to view it this time, definitely they have got a better chance next time.”

An ISRO official said the gallery will be opened to the public ahead of rocket launches and that visitors need to book through the ISRO website to gain entry.

He said the viewing gallery which can accommodate about 10,000 people was set up in a record 40 days. A visitor who witnessed Monday’s launch described it as a memorable experience. “This is the first time I am seeing a rocket launch. It was a memorable experience,” he said.

NT Bureau