As India successfully tested the heaviest launch vehicle GSLV Mk-III, there was a sense of relief for 56-year-old Rakesh Sharma, the first Indian to travel in space. Having been a part of the Indo-Soviet manned spaceflight programme in April 1984, Sharma had always expressed disappointment that the government was not giving the ‘go’ for the mission.
“It is a great start and a significant step towards implementing a human space flight programme. In my view, this success, in the very first attempt itself, proves that Isro has reached a stage which could mark the beginning of the journey of the Indian manned programme,” he told TOI, a few minutes after the splashdown of the crew module in the Bay of Bengal.
But Sharma warned that it should not be become a “stop-start-stop” programme. “Now, the programme has to be implemented. A manned space flight programme is a natural follow up,” he remarked.