Learning some more about ISRO, space through rare images

isro-images The accompanying text may not be high prose, but is precise and informative | Sanjay Ahlawat

All three authors of 'Ever Upwards: ISRO in images' are former officials of ISRO— P.V. Manoranjan Rao retired as group director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), B.N. Suresh was director of VSSC and member, Space Commission, and V.P. Balagangadharam was VSSC scientist in-charge of outreach and intellectual property rights. So the story here is as authentic and as much of an inside view as one can get.

While there are enough of the early pictures from ISRO in the public domain—satellites being carried atop bullock carts and bicycles—this book offers other, rarer pictures from that time. There is, for instance, one of fishermen at work in Thumba, the site which was finally developed for the launch of the first sounding rocket. Another picture is one of A.P.J. Abdul Kalam from his early years, when he sported a tie and a regulation hair cut. Needless to say, if you don't read the caption, you will not recognise him. There is another of a group of boy scouts watching the launch of the first rocket flight from Thumba, their necks craned up, the look of excitement and awe on each face captured beautifully in that black and white picture.

From those early days to the fantastic images of India that ISRO satellites have captured, the journey is phenomenal and also a treat to the eyes. One particularly arresting image is that of the confluence of the Ganga and Yamuna at Allahabad. Moving on to the age of exploration are images that probes to the moon, and Mars, as well as the space observatory Astrosat have taken. The clarity of the images of Mars, in particular a 3-D view of the Ophir Chasma canyon, are impressive.

The accompanying text may not be high prose, but is precise and informative. It certainly is a book that anyone interested in space sciences and specially ISRO should read, and more importantly, see.

Title: Ever Upwards: ISRO in images

Author: PV Manoranjan Rao, B N Suresh, V P Balagangadharan

Publisher: Universities Press

Pages: 300