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Vikram Sarabhai

A pioneering Indian Scientist who was widely known as the father of Indian space program, Vikram Sarabhai was the main personality behind the launch of first Indian satellite -


He was born on 12th August, 1919 at Ahmadabad, Gujarat. His father Shri Ambalal Sarabhai was an affluent industrialist and his mother's name was Smt. Sarladevi Sarabhai.  He had his primary education in a private school in Ahmadabad and his school environment inculcated the seeds of scientific creativity, ingenuity and scientific curiosity in this young boy. After his school, he went to Cambridge university and attained the Tripos degree in 1940 in Natural Sciences from the St. Johns college. He married a celebrated classical dancer - Mrinalini Sarabhai in 1942. He had two children - Kartikeya and Mallika, both of them won national accreditations namely Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan respectively.

The Birth of Indian Space Research Movement

Visualizing the needs of the country, Sarabhai persuaded some charitable trusts run by his family and friends for endowing a research institution near Ahmadabad. As a result of these efforts, PRL (Physical Research Laboratory) was established in November, 1947.

One of his greatest accomplishments was the establishment of ISRO (Indian Space Research Program). He successfully convinced the Indian government about the significance of a space program for  a developing nation. He stressed on the fact that if we aspire to play a meaningful role in the world and in the community of nations, we must acquire a place that is second to none in the advanced technologies application.

With the active and encouraging support of Dr. Homi Jehangir Bhaba, known as the father of India's nuclear science program, Dr. Sarabhai succeeded in setting up the first rocket launching station, TERLS in the country. This centre was established on the coast of Arabian Sea at Thumba near Thiruvananthapuram (now known as Trivandrum) due to its close proximity to the equator. The first rocket from this centre was launched on November 21, 1963 with sodium vapour payload.

With the support from NASA, he was able to successfully launch SITE (Satellite Instructional Television Experiment) in 1975-76 for the fabrication and launch of an Indian satellite in space. As a result of his assiduous efforts he launched the first ever Indian satellite in space - Aryabhatta, which was put into the orbit in 1975. He also headed atomic energy commission after the sudden death of Homi Bhaba.

Visit the Land of Dr. Vikram Sarabhai - Ahmadabad, Gujarat

Dr. Vikram Sarabhai's life's aim was obtaining competence in the advanced scientific technologies to solve the problems of our developing nation with the help of economic and technical evaluation of India's real resources.

Gujarat, which is the birthplace of this science legend still holds his memories in the form of institutions set by him. If you are a science enthusiast and want to learn more about this prominent science personality who marked the name of India on the map of global scientific developments & researches, then you can visit several institutions in Gujarat, including:

  • Vikram  A. Sarabhai Community Science Centre in Ahmadabad
  • Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmadabad accredited for its management studies not only in India but all over the globe.
  •  Physical Research laboratory in Ahmadabad which is performing commendably in the R&D in Physics.
  • Ahmadabad Textiles Industrial Research Association for the help of booming textile businesses in Ahmadabad
  • Center for Environmental Planning and Technology in Ahmadabad
  • Operations Research Group (ORG) which was the India's first market research organization.

Apart from these institutions in Gujarat, he also set up several institutions in the other parts of the country.

Death and Legacy

Considered as the father of Indian space program, he was an astounding visionary, industrialist and innovator. After winning several national accreditations, he passed away in December, 1971 at Kovalam. This great scientist can be credited as the one who launched India into the space age. He was among one of the few Indian scientists who devoted their entire life towards the progress of the science in the country.

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