Putting elephants into orbit

ISRO: A Personal History

“In India, the immediate goals of our space research are modest. We do not expect to send a man to the moon or put elephants, white,pink or black, into orbit around the earth”

Dr. Vikram Sarabhai , 1970


Isro’s PSLV-C38 places Cartosat-2s and 30 nano satellites in orbit

The Times of India 23 June, 2017


In between these two timelines lies the story of the underdog that had a strong sense of purpose. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) not only had humble beginnings in a church at Thumba, Kerala, it has made humility its very ethos. Mission to Mars? No sweat. No money? We will figure out a way. Rocket nose dived? Let’s figure out what went wrong.

While ISRO’s rocket launches aimed for the sky, its rocket scientists kept their nose to the grindstone, fighting technology transfer embargoes and building indigenous capability. What better manifestation of a strong work ethic and less is more culture than sending a mission to Mars at a cost lesser than that of Hollywood flick Gravity?

ISRO clearly offers a lot to learn for corporate India-working with a sense of purpose, believing in less is more and most importantly, looking for joy in work , rather than money. When bookbhook had earlier summarised the biography of ISRO’s founding father Dr Vikram Sarabhai, there were four lessons for managers to imbibe from Dr Sarabhai: affectionate humility, mutuality, institution building and using information as a source of control,rather than heirarchy.

Sudeshna Bhattacharya has handcrafted this bookbhook summary of the book ISRO: A Personal History by R Aravamudan & Gita Aravamudan.  R Aravamudan is a senior scientist who was with ISRO right from its inception and is best placed to narrate ISRO’s personal history, which happens to be a very good 3 hours and 37 minutes read.

Do not forget to check out the bookbhook summary of Dr. Vikram Sarabhai’s biography, available on the bookbhook app.


Download the bookbhook app here to read this and more than 60 other handcrafted, short summaries

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