‘Sarabhai will be paid tribute truly when Vikram lands on moon’

Modi, through a video message, addressed a gathering at the celebrations of the birth centenary of ISRO's founding father which was kicked off in Ahmedabad on Monday.

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Vikram Sarabhai

New Delhi: Lauding the contribution of Vikram Sarabhai to the Indian space programme, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said it will a tribute to him in the true sense when Chandrayaan-2 lander, named Vikram after the scientist, reaches the moon. Modi, through a video message, addressed a gathering at the celebrations of the birth centenary of ISRO’s founding father which was kicked off in Ahmedabad on Monday.

Senior officials of the Department of Space, Department of Atomic Energy and members of the Sarabhai family attended the event. “It will be a tribute to Dr Sarabhai from crore of Indians in the true sense when ‘Vikram’ lander will reach the Moon,” a statement quoting the prime minister said.

Chandrayaan-2 was launched on July and Vikram is expected to land on the moon in September.

Modi said nuclear physicist Homi Bhabha’s demise had created a vacuum in the world of Indian science. At that time, Sarabhai gave a new dimension to it with his skills and leadership ability.

Bhabha was the first chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC). He died in a plane crash in 1966 and was succeeded by Sarabhai. Vikram Ambalal Sarabhai (12 August 1919 – 30 December 1971), the Indian scientist, physicist and astronomer, was honoured with Padma Bhushan in 1966 and the Padma Vibhushan (posthumously) in 1972.

Describing Sarabhai as a dedicated soldier of science, Modi said that he encouraged science as well as India’s culture and Sanskrit language. He also always gave time to students, the prime minister said.

The prime minister encouraged school children to participate in an online space quiz launched by ISRO.

ISRO Chairman K Sivan described Sarabhai as a great institution builder. He said the scientist made a huge contribution in building a modern India by establishing institutions in the fields of modern science, physical research and atomic energy.

Sivan said the institutions set up by Sarabhai have now become the Centres of Excellence.