PDF | On Jan 1, , Anil. Vishnu. Moharir and others published Wings of Fire- Autobiography, APJ Abdul Kalam with Arun Tiwari Reviewed. This article narrates life and works of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, the eleventh President of India. Article (PDF Available) · October with , Reads. Cite this publication Kalam was born on 15 October in. a Tamil. Born in , the son of a little educated boatowner in Rameswaram, Tamilnadu, Arun Tiwari worked under Dr APJ Abdul Kalam for over a decade in the.

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1 Rs. 5 01 ht2 ig fL Int er nati on alY ea r o APJ Abdul Kalam: The SLV-3 was a historical achievement Kalam was born on 15 October in for India. Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam was an Indian politician and aerospace scientist who served as the 11th. Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam's books are commendable and a must read. Kalam with Arun Tiwari-Wings of Fire_ An Autobiography of APJ Abdul Kalam ().pdf.

Last year MIT was a year of transition and had a great impact on his later life. There he worked on engine overhauling as part of a team. He had trained in radial engine-cum- drum operations. But he was not selected in Air Force because he failed to pass the physical fitness standards.

He had to create opportunities on his own. At the stage, he covered 32 eventful years of his life when he was just on the threshold of his career after graduation. Creation[ edit ] The section 'Creation' traverses seven chapters, from chapters four to chapter ten; and covers Kalam's life and work for 17 years, from the year until At a NASA facility, he remembers to have seen a painting, prominently displayed in the lobby.

The painting depicted a battle scene with a rocket flying in the background. On closer examination, he found that the painting depicted Tipu Sultan's army fighting the British.

His association with Thumba and Satellite Launch Vehicle and related projects are vividly presented in the section 'Creation'. During the period covered under 'Creation', Kalam, in the year , lost his father who lived up to years of age. Kalam took the bereavement with courage and remembered these words written on the death of William Butler Yeats by his friend Auden , and his father: Earth receive an honoured guest; William Yeats is laid to rest: In the prison of his days Teach the free man how to praise.

The period covered in the section 'Creation' also brought Kalam national recognition. A pleasant surprise came in the form of conferment of Padma Bhushan on the Republic Day, Propitiation[ edit ] Section Propitiation covers the period to This section covers the scientist's journey towards becoming the "Missile Man of India".

In this section, his excellent leadership qualities as taking up the responsibility of shaping up the Guided Missile Development Program, are clearly visible. In this phase of the life, Kalam was responsible for the development of the five missiles — Prithvi , Trishul , Akash , Nag and Agni. The book has 24 plates with photographs associated with the life and work of Kalam: Ramanathapuram , from where Kalam had completed his high schooling. Plate 8 shows his teachers at Schwartz High School.

Plate 9 shows Nandi, an indigenous hovercraft prototype. Plate 10 shows the picture of a Church in Thumba , a place which was donated by the local Christian community to India's Space Research Centre.

Plate 11 shows him with Prof. Vikram Sarabhai. Plate 12 shows an SLV-3 review meeting. Plate 13 shows presentation of members of the SLV-3 team.

Plate 14 is the first plate with a colour photograph and shows Prof. Plate 15 shows him with Prof. Plate 16 shows SLV-3 launch.

Plate 17 shows him receiving Padma Bhushan. Plates 18 shows successful launch of Prithvi, now a part of India's surface-to-surface weapons system. Plate 19 shows Kalam standing by the side of Agni, standing on its launch pad. Plate 20 shows a cartoon by renowned cartoonist R. I was struck by his irresistible, almost child- officer-in-charge, R Varadharajan, and won a word of praise from the like smile and gracious manner.

I introduced myself to the Swamiji. My Director, Dr Neelakantan. To gain shop-floor exposure to aircraft Muslim name aroused no reaction in him.

Before I could speak any maintenance, I was sent to the Aircraft and Armament Testing Unit further, he inquired about the source of my sorrow.

At that time, they were involved in a tropical explanation of how he knew that I was sad and I did not ask. I participated in the performance I told him about my unsuccessful attempt to join the Indian Air Force assessment of its operation systems. He smiled, washing away all my Even in those days, Kanpur was a very populous city. It was my first anxiety almost instantly. Then he said in a feeble, but very deep voice, experience of living in an industrial town.

The cold weather, crowds, Desire, when it stems from the heart and spirit, when it is pure and noise and smoke were in total contrast to what I was used to in intense, possesses awesome electromagnetic energy. This energy is Rameswaram. I was particularly troubled by the ubiquitous presence of released into the ether each night, as the mind falls into the sleep state. To me, it Each morning it returns to the conscious state reinforced with the cosmic seemed that a feeling of loneliness pervaded the city.

The people on the currents. That which has been imaged will surely and certainly be streets had all come from their villages in search of jobs in factories, manifested. You can rely, young man, upon this ageless promise as surely leaving behind the smell of their soil and the protection of their families. We tried to read as much literature as included in the design team.

I completed this task with the other team we could find on hovercrafts, but there was not much available. We members. Then, I undertook a preliminary design study on a Human tried to consult people knowledgeable in this area, but could find none. I later carried out the design and development of a Vertical One day, I simply took the decision to proceed with the limited information Takeoff and Landing Platform.

I was also associated with the and resources available. Three years passed. This endeavour to produce a wingless, light, swift machine opened Then the Aeronautical Development Establishment ADE was born in the windows of my mind. I was quick to see at least a metaphorical Bangalore and I was posted to the new establishment. After all, the Wright Bangalore as a city was in direct contrast to Kanpur. In fact, I feel Brothers made the first aeroplane after fixing bicycles for seven years!

I saw in the GEM project great opportunities for ingenuity and growth. I suppose, it is because Indians have been both afflicted and enriched by We went straight into hardware development after spending a few centuries of migrations. Loyalty to different rulers has dulled our capacity months on the drawing board.

A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

Instead, we have developed an extraordinary There is always the danger that a person with my kind of background— ability to be compassionate and cruel, sensitive and callous, deep and rural or small-town, middle-class, whose parents had limited education— fickle, all at the same time.

To the untrained eye, we may appear colourful will retreat into a corner and remain there struggling for bare existence, and picturesque; to the critical eye, we are but shoddy imitations of our unless some great turn of circumstance propels him into a more various masters. In Kanpur, I saw paan-chewing imitations of Wajid Ali favourable environment. I knew I had to create my own opportunities.

Shah, and in Bangalore it was replaced by dog-walking sahibs. Here too, I longed for the depth and calmness of Rameswaram. The Part by part, subsystem by subsystem, stage by stage, things started relationship between the heart and the head of an earthy Indian has moving.

Working on this project, I learned that once your mind stretches been eroded by the divided sensibilities of our cities. I spent my evenings to a new level it never goes back to its original dimension. He was The workload at ADE during the first year of its inception was quite keenly interested in the progress of our small project, which he envisioned light.

Based on my preliminary studies on ground-handling equipment. Whenever he was in Bangalore, he always found some time equipment, a project team was formed to design and develop an to review the progress of our project. His confidence in our ability ignited indigenous hovercraft prototype as a ground equipment machine GEM.

I would enter the assembly shop leaving my other The team was a small working group, comprising four persons at the problems outside, just as my father used to enter the mosque for prayer, level of Scientific Assistant. Our experiments with the available parts and components did not exactly The project was, by any standards, bigger than our collective delight my senior colleagues. Many even called us a group of eccentric capabilities. None of us had any experience in building a machine, let inventors in pursuit of an impossible dream.

I, being the leader of the alone a flying machine. The development are solved. We completed the project ahead of schedule. We had a working. Dr Mediratta was visibly pleased And all such things as geniuses use; — with the achievement. But by this time, Krishna Menon was out of office Two bats for patterns, curious fellows! In the new order, not many A charcoal-pot and a pair of bellows. In fact, even today, we import hovercrafts.

The When the project was about a year old, Defence Minister Krishna project was mired in controversies and was finally shelved. It was a Menon made one of his routine visits to ADE. I escorted him into our new experience for me. So far, I had believed that the sky was the limit, assembly shop. Inside, on a table lay the GEM model broken down into but now it appeared that the limits were much closer. There are boundaries sub-assemblies. The minister fired one question after another at me, determined to ensure that the prototype would go into test flight within I was unwilling to face reality.

I had put my heart and soul into Nandi. In this period of confusion and uncertainty, memories from my childhood came back to me and I The hovercraft was christened Nandi, after the bull ridden by Lord discovered new meanings in them. For a prototype, its form, fit and finish was beyond our expectation, given the rudimentary infrastructure we possessed. One day, Dr Mediratta called with.

He inquired about the state of our hovercraft. When told that it was in perfect condition to be flown, he asked me to organize a demonstration Defence Minister Krishna Menon flew in the Nandi, overruling the for an important visitor the next day. A Group Captain in the laboratory during the next week as far as I knew. I was sure about my The next day Dr Mediratta brought a visitor to our hovercraft—a competence in flying the machine I had made, and therefore shook my tall, handsome, bearded man.

He asked me several questions about the head in negation. Observing this wordless communication, Krishna machine. I was struck by the objectivity and clarity of his thinking. His request filled me laugh and signalled to me to start the machine. He was very happy. Finally, here was someone who was interested in my work.

However, the next the ground. We were not flying, but were definitely floating in the air. This was a breakthrough a young man like ride and departed. But not before introducing himself—he was Prof. Labels mattered very little. There Rocket Engineer. I was unsure about the set up the Equatorial Rocket Launching Station at Thumba, a sleepy type of questions I would have to face at the interview.

There was fishing village near Trivandrum now Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala. This was the quiet beginning of modern rocket-based research dualities which arise from wish and hate. But those in India. The site selected at Thumba lay between the railway line and men of virtuous deeds in whom sin has come to an end, the sea coast, covering a distance of about two and a half km and freed from the delusion of dualities, worship Me measuring about acres.

Within this area, stood a large church, whose steadfast in their vows. Land acquisition from private parties is always a difficult and time-consuming process, especially in densely populated I reminded myself that the best way to win was to not need to win. In addition, there was the delicate matter of acquiring The best performances are accomplished when you are relaxed and a site of religious significance.

The Collector of Trivandrum then, K free of doubt. I decided to take things as they came. Since neither Prof.

Dr I decided this was the best attitude to take. Dereira, who was the Bishop of Trivandrum in The St. Mary Magdalene church housed Commission. The prayer room was my friendliness. There was none of the arrogance or the patronising attitudes which To this day, the church is maintained in its full glory and, at present, interviewers usually display when talking to a young and vulnerable houses the Indian Space Museum.

He was looking at me as if in reference to a larger whole. I took some time off before going abroad and went to dream was enveloped by the larger dream of a bigger person. My father was very pleased to learn about the opportunity that had come my way. He took me to the mosque and organized a special namaz in thanksgiving. I could feel the power of God flowing in a circuit through my father to me and back to God; we were all under the spell of the prayer.

One of the important functions of prayer, I believe, is to act as a stimulus to creative ideas. Within the mind are all the resources required for successful living.

Ideas are present in the consciousness, which when released and given scope to grow and take shape, can lead to successful events. God, our Creator, has stored within our minds and personalities, great potential strength and ability.

Prayer helps us to tap and develop these powers. Ahmed Jallaluddin and Samsuddin came to see me off at Bombay airport. It was their first exposure to a big city like Bombay, just as I myself was about to have my first exposure to a mega city like New York.

Jallaluddin and Samsuddin were self-reliant, positive, optimistic men who undertook their work with the assurance of success.

It is from these two persons that I drew the core creative power of my mind. My sentiments could not be contained, and I could feel the mist of tears in my eyes. The intensity and purity of their faith in my capabilities broke my last defences, and tears welled up in my eyes. They attempt to get out of them rather than suffer them. Everybody prostrated themselves except Iblis, or Satan, who refused. Does not that make me nobler than Achievers Adam? This is no place for your contemptuous pride.

One of my most vivid memories What makes life in Indian organizations difficult is the widespread of LRC is of a piece of sculpture depicting a charioteer driving two prevalence of this very contemptuous pride.

It stops us from listening to horses, one representing scientific research and the other technological our juniors, subordinates and people down the line. You cannot expect a development, metaphorically encapsulating the interconnection between person to deliver results if you humiliate him, nor can you expect him to research and development. Unfortunately, the earth-orbiting science and applications satellites.

Here, has to be changed. I saw a painting prominently displayed in the reception lobby. It depicted As the process of confronting and solving problems often requires a battle scene with a few rockets flying in the background.

A painting hard work and is painful, we have endless procrastination. Actually, with this theme should be the most commonplace thing at a Flight Facility, problems can be the cutting edge that actually distinguish between but the painting caught my eye because the soldiers on the side launching success and failure.

They draw out innate courage and wisdom.

It was a sounding rocket, called Nike- fighting the British. The rocket was assembled in the church country but commemorated here on the other side of the planet. I was building I have referred to earlier. The only equipment available to happy to see an Indian glorified by NASA as a hero of warfare rocketry. The assembled rocket was to be shifted from the church building training, but Prof. After the successful to the launch pad by truck. When the rocket was lifted by the crane and launch of Nike-Apache, he chose to share with us his dream of an was about to be placed on the launcher, it started tilting, indicating a leak Indian Satellite Launch Vehicle.

As we were fast approaching the Prof. The very news of launch time, 6 p. People manually, using our collective muscle power and finally placing it on the would work virtually round the clock because of their enthusiasm to launcher.

Sarabhai something new, something that had not been done In the maiden Nike-Apache launch, I was in charge of rocket before in our country—be it a new design or a new method of fabrication integration and safety.

Two of my colleagues who played a very or even an out-of-the-way administrative procedure. Sarabhai active and crucial role in this launch were D Easwardas and R would often assign multiple tasks to a single person or a group. Though Aravamudan. Easwardas undertook the rocket assembly and arranged some of those tasks would appear totally unrelated in the beginning, the launch. Aravamudan, whom we called Dan, was in charge of radar, they would, at a later stage, emerge as deeply interconnected.

When telemetry and ground support. The launch was smooth and problem- Prof. We obtained excellent flight data and returned with a sense of he asked me, almost in the same breath, to take up studies on a rocket- pride and accomplishment. The two things had no apparent connection except in the mind of this great visionary. I When we were relaxing the next evening at the dinner table, we knew that all I had to do was to remain alert and focussed on my purpose, received news of the assassination of President John F Kennedy in and sooner or later, an opportunity to do a challenging job would enter Dallas, Texas.

We were appalled. The Kennedy years were a significant my laboratory. Sarabhai was ever-willing to try out novel approaches and liked The Soviet Union built missile sites in Cuba, from which it would to draw in young people. He had the wisdom and judgement which have been possible to launch attacks on American cities. In my opinion, he was an ideal experimenter offensive missiles to Cuba. America also threatened to respond to any and innovator. When there were alternative courses of action before us, Soviet nuclear attack from Cuba on any country in the Western whose outcome was difficult to predict, or to reconcile varying Hemisphere by retaliating against the USSR.

After fourteen days of perspectives, Prof. Sarabhai would resort to experimentation to resolve intense drama, the crisis was resolved by the Soviet Premier Khrushchev the issue.

A ordering that the Cuban bases be dismantled and the missiles returned bunch of young, inexperienced, but nevertheless energetic and to Russia. Sarabhai had a detailed discussion with us on research in particular. It was a great example of leadership by trust.

He was creating a new frontier in the field of science and technology in India. A new generation, scientists and engineers in their The rocket launch site later blossomed into the Thumba Equatorial 30s and early 40s, was being charged with an unprecedented dynamism. Vikram Sarabhai—had comprehended the full operational sounding rockets were developed.

These rockets had wide implications of the challenge and had not balked at taking it on. Right ranging capabilities, and to date several hundreds of these rockets have from the day INCOSPAR was formed, he was aware of the need to been launched for various scientific and technological studies.

It lifted a nominal 7 kg payload produced indigenously. It was soon followed by another, to which With this in view, a wide-ranging programme for scientific and one more solid propellant stage was added to dispatch multi-experiment technological development in rocket fuels, propulsion systems, payloads weighing nearly kg to an altitude of over km.

Incidentally, this laboratory has on polyurethane and polybutane polymer. It later resulted in the setting produced a large number of Indian space scientists of extremely high up of a Propellant Fuel Complex PFC to manufacture strategic calibre over the years. What is it The development of Indian rockets in the twentieth century can be that distinguishes a sounding rocket from a Satellite Launch Vehicle seen as a revival of the eighteenth century dream of Tipu Sultan.

When SLV and from a missile? In fact, they are three different kinds of Tipu Sultan was killed, the British captured more than rockets and rockets. Sounding rockets are normally used for probing the near-earth subsystems of rockets in the battle of Turukhanahally in His environment, including the upper regions of the atmosphere.

While they army had 27 brigades, called Kushoons, and each brigade had a company can carry a variety of scientific payloads to a range of altitudes, they of rocket men, called Jourks. These rockets had been taken to England cannot impart the final velocity needed to orbit the payload. The final stage of a launch vehicle provides the or patent regime. With the death of Tipu, Indian rocketry also met its necessary velocity for a satellite to enter an orbit.

This is a complex demise—at least for years. A missile, though belonging to the same family, is a still more complex system. In Meanwhile, rocket technology made great strides abroad. Konstantin addition to the large terminal velocity and onboard guidance and control, Tsiolkovsky in Russia , Robert Goddard in USA and it must have the capability to home onto targets.

When the targets are Hermann Oberth in Germany gave rocketry new dimensions. With this booty, they started to run fabrication of sounding rockets and their associated on-board systems their deadly arms race with missiles and warheads.

Sarabhai took the challenge of giving physical dimensions to this dream. Very many individuals with myopic vision questioned the relevance of space activities in a newly independent nation which was finding it difficult to feed its population. But neither Prime Minister Nehru nor Prof. Sarabhai had any ambiguity 5 of purpose.

Their vision was very clear: They had no intention of using it merely as a means to display our might. Sarabhai would openly review the progress of work with the entire team. He never gave directions. Rather, through a free exchange of views, he led us forward into new terrain which often revealed an unforeseen solution.

Perhaps he was aware that though a particular goal might be clear to himself, and he could give adequate directions for its accomplishment, his team members might have resisted working towards a goal that made no sense to them. He considered the collective understanding of the problem the main attribute of effective leadership.

Sarabhai took a series of decisions that were to become the life-mission of many. And this would not be done one-by-one but concurrently, in a multi-dimensional fashion.

In the development of payloads for the sounding rockets, instead of getting a certain payload and then engineering it to fit into the rocket, we discussed the matter threadbare with the payload scientists working in different organ-izations and at different locations. I may even say that the most significant achievement of the sounding rocket programme was to establish and maintain nation-wide mutual trust.

UR Rao, would be engineered by my team to fit into the nose were told rather than use my legitimate authority, Prof. Sarabhai assigned cone of the Rohini Rocket.

At an altitude of km, the nose cone me the task of providing interface support to payload scientists. Almost would be separated by explosion of pyros triggered by an electronic all physical laboratories in India were involved in the sounding rocket timer. With this, the X-ray sensors would be exposed to space for programme, each having its own mission, its own objective and its own collecting the required information about the emissions from stars.

These payloads were required to be integrated to the rocket Together, Prof. Oda and Prof. Rao were a unique blend of intellect and structure so as to ensure their proper functioning and endurance under dedication, which one rarely sees. One day, when I was working on the flight conditions. We had X-ray payloads to look at stars; payloads fitted integration for Prof. To me they looked flimsy, of the upper atmosphere; sodium payloads to find out wind conditions, but Prof.

Oda stuck to his stand that the Indian timers be replaced by its direction and velocity. We also had ionospheric payloads to explore the Japanese ones.

I yielded to his suggestion and replaced the timers. I not only had to interact with scientists The rocket took off elegantly and attained the intended altitude. Oda was so upset that tears welled up in his eyes. I was stunned France, Germany and Japan. He had clearly put his heart and soul into his work.

I often read Khalil Gibran, and always find his words full of wisdom. If you are a writer the hazardous sodium and thermite mix. As usual, it was a hot and humid who would secretly prefer to be a lawyer or a doctor, your written words day at Thumba. After the sixth such operation, Sudhakar and I went into will feed but half the hunger of your readers; if you are a teacher who the payload room to confirm the proper filling of the mix.

Suddenly, a would rather be a businessman, your instructions will meet but half the drop of sweat from his forehead fell onto the sodium, and before we need for knowledge of your students; if you are a scientist who hates knew what was happening, there was a violent explosion which shook science, your performance will satisfy but half the needs of your mission.

For a few paralysed seconds, I did not know what to do. The The personal unhappiness and failure to achieve results that comes from fire was spreading, and water would not extinguish the sodium fire.

But there Trapped in this inferno, Sudhakar, however, did not lose his presence of are exceptions to this like Prof. Oda and Sudhakar, who bring to their mind. He broke the glass window with his bare hands and literally threw work a personal touch of magic based upon their individual character, me out to safety before jumping out himself. Sudhakar their hearts.

They become so emotionally involved with their work that spent many weeks in the hospital recuperating from the severe burns he any dilution of the success of their effort fills them with grief. I remember him as a assembly, testing and evaluation besides building subsystems like payload diminutive man with a towering personality and eyes that radiated housing and jettisonable nose cones.

Working with the nose cones led intelligence. His dedication to his work was exemplary. He would bring me, as a natural consequence, into the field of composite materials.

That was his subtle way composite bows made of wood, sinew, and horn as early as the eleventh of challenging each one of us to stretch our capabilities. The versatility of composites, in the sense that they possess would praise whatever we had accomplished.

Whenever he found any very desirable structural, thermal, electrical, chemical and mechanical one of us going over his head and attempting a task for which he did not properties, fascinated me.

I was so enthused with these man-made have the capability or skill, Prof. Sarabhai would reassign activity in materials that I was in a hurry to know everything about them almost such a way so as to lower pressure and permit better quality work to be overnight. I used to read up everything available on related topics. I was performed. Sarabhai wanted to see me urgently in Delhi. In February By now I was accustomed to Prof. In such a state of mind, to the International Space Science Community.

On this occasion, she sudden flashes of inspiration were almost natural. Delhi being a slightly unfamiliar Subramanian and MN Satyanara-yana, great satisfaction. We made high- place, with an unfriendly climate for someone like me, conditioned to the strength glass cloth laminates to build non-magnetic payload housings warm and humid climate of South India, I decided to wait in the hotel and flew them in two-stage sounding rockets.

We also wound and test lounge after finishing my dinner. I have always been a religious person in the sense that I maintain a Slowly, but surely, two Indian rockets were born at Thumba. They working partnership with God. I was aware that the best work required were christened Rohini and Menaka, after the two mythological dancers more ability than I possessed and therefore I needed help that only God in the court of Indra, the king of the sky.

The Indian payloads no longer could give me. I made a true estimate of my own ability, then raised it by needed to be launched by French rockets. In this partnership, I have but for the atmosphere of trust and commitment which Prof. Today, I can affirm that the kingdom of God is knowledge and skills. He made every man feel directly involved in problem within you in the form of this power, to help achieve your goals and solving.

There are many different types and levels of experience that turn this internal power reaction critical. Sometimes, when we are ready, the Prof. Sarabhai was matter-of-fact and never tried to hide his gentlest of contacts with Him fills us with insight and wisdom. This disappointment. He used to talk with us in an honest and objective manner. Many a time, it could come even were, and then charming us by his almost magical powers of persuasion.

Without the slightest warning, something nevertheless in a successful manner. He was a well-built person with an intelligent I looked around the elegant lounge. Somebody had left a book on a look and refined posture. Unlike me—always disorderly in my dress— nearby sofa. As if to fill the small hours of that cold night with some this man was wearing elegant clothes. Notwithstanding the odd hours, warm thoughts, I picked up the book and started browsing.

I must have he was alert and vivacious. And before I could get back to the book, It was some popular book related to business management. I was I was informed that Prof. Sarabhai was ready to receive me.

I left the not really reading it, only skimming over paragraphs and turning pages. I was surprised Suddenly, my eyes fell on a passage in the book, it was a quotation from when the man sitting on the opposite sofa was also asked to come inside.

George Bernard Shaw. The gist of the quote was that all reasonable Who was he? It was not long before my question was answered. Even men adapt themselves to the world. Only a few unreasonable ones persist before we sat down, Prof. Sarabhai introduced us to each other. He in trying to adapt the world to themselves. Sarabhai ordered coffee for both of us and unfolded his plan of conformist actions.

I started reading the book from the Bernard Shaw passage onwards. This would help our warplanes to take off from short runways in the The author was describing certain myths woven around the concept Himalayas. Hot coffee was served over small talk. It was totally and the process of innovation in industry and business. I read about the uncharacteristic of Prof. But as soon as we finished the coffee, myth of strategic planning. It is generally believed that substantial Prof. The author was of the opinion that it is essential for cursory glance at the sofa where I had left the book.

It was not there. Sarabhai showed us felt that it was a myth to hold that the key to economic success is a Russian RATO. A quotation from General George Patton was given as a could you do it in eighteen months time? Sarabhai asked us. It is a myth that to Prof. I recalled what win big one must strive to optimize, the author felt. After dropping us back at the Hotel Ashoka, Prof. By that evening, Waiting in the hotel lobby at 1 a. But then, Prof.

Sarabhai had always exhibited a strong heading the project, was made public. I was filled with many emotions— component of unorthodoxy in his character. He was running the show happiness, gratitude, a sense of fulfilment and these lines from a little- of space research in the country—under-staffed, overworked— known poet of the nineteenth-century crossed my mind: The plan talked about the realisation of a When you are the hammer, strike.

SLV for injecting lightweight satellites into a low earth orbit, upgrading of Indian satellites from laboratory models to space entities and RATO motors were mounted on aircraft to provide the additional development of a wide range of spacecraft subsystems like the apogee thrust required during the take-off run under certain adverse operating and booster motors, momentum wheel, and solar panel deployment conditions like partially bombed-out runways, high altitude airfields, more mechanism.

It also promised a wide range of technological spin-offs than the prescribed load, or very high ambient temperatures. The Air like the gyros, various types of transducers, telemetry, adhesives, and Force was in dire need of a large number of RATO motors for their S- polymers for non-space applications.

Over and above, there was the 22 and HF aircraft. It weighed kg and had a double base propellant encased in Ministry of Defence. Both Narayanan and I were inducted as members. The development work was to be carried out at the Space Science The idea of making missiles in our own country was exciting, and we and Technology Centre with the assistance of the Defence Research spent hours on end studying the missiles of various advanced countries.

The distinction between a tactical missile and a strategic missile is often a fine one. However, in warfare, this term is used motor casing. We decided in favour of a composite propellant which to denote the kind of target rather than its distance from missile launch. I also decided to take additional safety measures by in counter-force attacks on their strategic forces or in counter-value incorporating a diaphragm which would rupture if the chamber pressure attacks on the society, which in essence means his cities.

Tactical for some reason exceeded twice the operating pressure. Two significant weapons are those that influence a battle, and the battle may be by land, developments occurred during the work on RATO. The first was the sea or air, or on all three together. This profile was not merely an activity plan laid down in a tactical role, notwithstanding its range of some km.

In those by the top man for his team to comply with, it was a theme paper meant days, however, strategic missiles were synonymous with intermediate for open discussions, to be later transformed into a programme. In fact, range ballistic missiles IRBMs with ranges in the order of nautical I found it was the romantic manifesto of a person deeply in love with the miles or km and inter-continental ballistic missiles ICBMs with a space research programme in his country.

The plan mainly centred around the early ideas which had been born Gp Capt Narayanan had an ineffable enthusiasm for indigenous guided at INCOSPAR; it included utilization of satellites for television and missiles. He was a great admirer of the strong arm approach of the Russian developmental education, meteorological observations and remote sensing Missile Development Programme. To this had been added the here, where space research has already prepared the soil for a bonanza development and launch of satellite launch vehicles.

A large number of Surface- The next evening, Babu came to me before the appointed time. The RATO system locations. Gp Capt Narayanan passionately advocated the development can be made without imports. The only hurdle is the inherent inelasticity of these missiles in the country. He was very eager to learn about rocketry and I approval by a single person instead of an entire hierarchy, air travel for was very curious to know about airborne weapon systems. He had and expeditious accounting procedures.

He obtained These demands were unheard of in government establishments, which funding of Rs 75 lakhs with a further commitment towards any tend to be conservative, yet I could see the soundness of his proposition.

At times, I often laughed at his impatience, was to be played with a new set of rules. I weighed all the pros and cons and read for him these lines from T. Hearing my plea for administrative liberalization And the creation and seeing the merits behind it, Prof. Sarabhai approved the proposals Between the emotion without a second thought. And the response Through his suggestions, Babu had highlighted the importance of Falls the Shadow.

Virtually nothing indigenous was available.


Together, we made people, more material and more money. But this made me your parameters! Instinctive businessman that he was, Babu did not unhappy—was there no remedy or alternative?

I to live with screwdriver technology? We had also gone in for a high energy after I took up the RATO projects, I saw a young colleague, Jaya Chandra composite propellant and an event-based ignition and jettisoning system in Babu going home. Babu had joined us a few months ago and the only real-time. A canted nozzle was designed to deflect the jet away from the thing I knew about him was that he had a very positive attitude and was aircraft. We conducted the first static test of RATO in the twelfth month articulate.

I called him into my office and did a bit of loud thinking. Within the next four months, we conducted 64 you have any suggestions? Babu remained silent for static tests. And we were just about 20 engineers working on the project! Sarabhai gave me the additional responsibility of designing the fourth stage of the SLV.

Wings of Fire: An Autobiography

What made Prof. Sarabhai pick a few of us for this great mission?

Dr Gowarikar was doing outstanding work in the field of composite propellants. MR Kurup had established an excellent laboratory for propellants, propulsion and pyrotechnics. Muthunayagam had proved himself in the field of high energy propellants. The fourth stage was to be a composite structure and called for a large number of innovations in fabrication technology; Movers perhaps that was why I was brought in.

I laid the foundation for Stage IV on two rocks—sensible approximation and unawed support.

I have always considered the price The future satellite launch vehicle SLV had also been conceived of perfection prohibitive and allowed mistakes as a part of the learning by this time. Recognising the immense socio- economic benefits of space process. I prefer a dash of daring and persistence to perfection. I have technology, Prof. Sarabhai decided in , to go full-steam ahead with always supported learning on the part of my team members by paying the task of establishing indigenous capability in building and launching vigilant attention to each of their attempts, be they successful or our own satellites.

He personally participated in an aerial survey of the unsuccessful. In my group, progress was recognized and reinforced at every tiny step.

Although I provided access to all the information that my co-workers Prof. I wondered if there was something He finally selected the Sriharikota island, km north of Madras now wrong with the way in which I managed my time. At this stage, Prof. The Sarabhai brought a French visitor to our work centre to point out the crescent-shaped island has a maximum width of 8 km and lies alongside problem to me. This gentleman was Prof. The island is as big as Madras city. They Canal and the Pulicat lake form its western boundary.

Curien was a In , we had formed the Indian Rocket Society. Soon after, the thorough professional. Together, Prof. Sarabhai and Prof. Curien, Prof. Sarabhai had already hand-picked a team to give Prof. Curien to reinterpret his own progress in the Diamont programme. Curien advised Prof. Sarabhai to relieve me of all the minor cancelled their Diamont BC programme.

They told us that they did not jobs which posed little challenge and to give me more opportunities for need our Stage IV anymore.

It was a great shock, making me re-live achievement. I recall how this Air Force, and at Bangalore, when the Nandi project was aborted at brought a subtle smile to Prof. As a matter of fact, the Diamont and SLV airframes were I had invested great hope and effort in the fourth stage, so that it incompatible. The diameters were quite different and to attain could be flown with a Diamont rocket. The other three stages of SLV, interchangeability, some radical innovations were required.

I wondered involving enormous work in the area of rocket propulsion were at least where I should start. I decided to look around for solutions among my five years away. However, it did not take me long to shelve the own colleagues. After all, I had thoroughly daily routine reflected their desire to constantly experiment. I also started enjoyed working on this project.

In time, RATO filled the vacuum created asking and listening to anyone who showed the slightest promise.

Some in me by the Diamont BC Stage. I When the RATO project was underway, the SLV project slowly started made it an unfailing routine to make notes on individual suggestions and taking shape. Competence for all major systems of a launch vehicle had gave handwritten notes to colleagues in engineering and design, requesting been established in Thumba by now. Through their outstanding efforts, concrete follow-up action within five or ten days.

Curien testified, while for a big leap in rocketry. Sarabhai was an exemplar in the art of team-building. On one counterparts in Europe could barely manage in three years. Our plus occasion, he had to identify a person who could be given the responsibility point, he noted, was that each of us worked with those below and above for developing a telecommand system for the SLV.

Two men were in the hierarchy. I made it a point to have the team meet at least once competent to carry out this task—one was the seasoned and sophisticated every week. Though it took up time and energy, I considered it essential. UR Rao and the other was a relatively unknown experimenter, G How good is a leader? No better than his people and their commitment Madhavan Nair. The fact that I got them dedication and abilities, I did not rate his chances as very good.

During all together to share whatever little development had been achieved— one of Prof. Sarabhai putting all my energy and time into. It was a very small price to pay for did not take much time to back the young experimenter in preference to that commitment and sense of teamwork, which could in fact be called an established expert. Madhavan Nair not only lived up to the trust. Within my own small group of people I found leaders, and learned expectations of his leader but even went beyond them.

He was to later that leaders exist at every level. SLVs and missiles can be called first cousins: A airframe. It was reconfigured and upgraded from a kg, mm massive missile development project had been taken up by DRDO at diameter stage to a kg, mm diameter stage.

Sarabhai spent the next hour in re-defining our tasks, and, in the small hours of the morning, the decision to set up a Rocket In , Prof. Sarabhai came to Thumba on one of his routine visits. Engineering Section was taken. He was shown the operation of the nose-cone jettisoning mechanism. As always, we were all anxious to share the results of our work with Mistakes can delay or prevent the proper achievement of the Prof.

We requested Prof. Sarabhai to formally activate the objectives of individuals and organizations, but a visionary like Prof. Sarabhai smiled, and pressed Sarabhai can use errors as opportunities to promote innovation and the the button. To our horror, nothing happened. We were dumbstruck. I development of new ideas.

He was not especially concerned with the looked at Pramod Kale, who had designed and integrated the timer circuit.

In a flash each of us mentally went through an anlysis of the failure. We Prof.

Sarabhai to wait for a few minutes, then we detached they were inevitable but generally manageable. It was in the handling of the timer device, giving direct connection to the pyros. Sarabhai the crises that arose as a consequence that talent could often be revealed. The pyros were fired and the nose cone was I later realised by experience, that the best way to prevent errors was to jettisoned.

Sarabhai congratulated Kale and me; but his expression anticipate them. But this time, by a strange twist of fate, the failure of suggested that his thoughts were elsewhere. We could not guess what the timer circuit led to the birth of a rocket engineering laboratory.

The suspense did not last for long and I got a call from It was my usual practice to brief Prof. Sarabhai after every Missile Prof. After attending one such meeting in Delhi on 30 discussion. December , I was returning to Trivandrum. Sarabhai was Prof. I spoke to him home whenever he was in Trivandrum. I was slightly perplexed by the on the telephone from the airport lounge about the salient points that had summons. Sarabhai greeted me with his customary warmth.

He emerged at the panel meeting. He instructed me to wait at Trivandrum talked of the rocket launching station, envisaging facilities like launch Airport after disembarking from the Delhi flight, and to meet him there pads, block houses, radar, telemetry and so on—things which are taken before his departure for Bombay the same night.

Then he brought up the When I reached Trivandrum, a pall of gloom hung in the air. The incident that had occurred that morning.

This was exactly what I had aircraft ladder operator Kutty told me in a choked voice that Prof. My apprehension of a reproach from my leader, however, was Sarabhai was no more.

He had passed away a few hours ago, following unfounded. Sarabhai did not conclude that the failure of the pyro a cardiac arrest. I was shocked to the core; it had happened within an timer circuit was the outcome of insufficient knowledge and lack of skill hour of our conversation.

It was a great blow to me and a huge loss to on the part of his people or of faulty understanding at the direction stage. Indian science. That night passed in preparations for airlifting Prof. He also asked me to consider if my work was possibly being affected by any problem of which I was hitherto unaware.

For five years, between to , about 22 scientists and engineers He finally put his finger on the key issue. We lacked a single roof to had worked closely with Prof. All of them were later to take carry out system integration of all our rocket stages and rocket systems. Not only was Prof. Sarabhai a Electrical and mechanical integration work was going on with a great scientist, but also a great leader. I still remember him reviewing significant phase difference—both in time and in space. There was little the bi-monthly progress of the design projects of SLV-3 in June The first three Before taking up the responsibility of organizing space research in presentations went through smoothly.

Mine was the last presentation. Sarabhai had introduced five of my team members who had contributed in various established a number of successful industrial enterprises.

He was aware ways to the design. The presentations Prof. Sarabhai founded Sarabhai Chemicals, Sarabhai Glass, Sarabhai were discussed at length and the conclusion was that satisfactory Geigy Limited, Sarabhai Merck Limited, and the Sarabhai Engineering progress had been made. His Swastik Oil Mills did pioneering work in the extraction of oil from oilseeds, manufacture of synthetic detergents and of cosmetics. Suddenly, a senior scientist who worked closely with Prof. But what did astronomical costs at that time.

Now with the indigenization of RATO, you do for the project? Sarabhai his mission had acquired a new dimension—independence in the really annoyed. We just witnessed an excellent example. It rupees in foreign exchange. I recalled this on the day of the successful was an outstanding demonstration of team work.

I have always seen a trial of the RATO system. Including trial expenses, we spent less than project leader as an integrator of people and that is precisely what Kalam Rs. Sarabhai as the Mahatma Gandhi of Indian science at Rs. MGK Menon at the helm, full swing. All the subsystems had been designed, technologies identified, Prof. The processes established, work centres selected, manpower earmarked and whole complex at Thumba, which included TERLS, the Space Science schedules drawn.

The only hitch was the lack of a management structure and Technology Centre SSTC , the RPP, the Rocket Fabrication Facility to effectively handle this mega-project and coordinate activities which RFF , and the Propellant Fuel Complex PFC were merged together were spread over a large number of work centres with their own ways to form an integrated space centre and christened the Vikram Sarabhai of working and management.

The renowned metallurgist, Dr Brahm Prakash, took over as Prof. I wondered why I was selected for this task when Bareilly Air Force station in Uttar Pradesh, when a high performance there were stalwarts like Gowarikar, Muthunayagam, and Kurup around. Sukhoi jet aircraft became airborne after a short run of m, as With organizers like Easwardas, Aravamudan, and SC Gupta available, against its usual run of 2 km.

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We used the 66th RATO motor in the test. I articulated my doubts to Dr Brahm Prakash. This effort was said to have saved approximately Rs 4 crores in foreign exchange. The vision of the industrialist scientist had finally borne fruit. Yet another major task was the augmentation of degraders and cautioned me against outrightly seeking optimal launch facilities at SHAR with systems integration and checkout facilities performance from the participating work centres.

The SLV mission will be set in March Dr Brahm you who did not eat or walk about the market squares. We test you by Prakash formed four Project Advisory Committees to advise me on means of one another.

Will you not have patience? I was assured of People heading teams often have one of the following two orientations:A few readers with a Aravindan, and Sivaprakasan. His Swastik Oil Mills did pioneering work in the extraction of oil from oilseeds, manufacture of synthetic detergents and of cosmetics. Early Life. Become one with yourself, my son! KAV Pandalai and Mr R Swaminathan, for struggle of sophisticated warfare is for economic and technological critical reviews of the text.

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