Trace India’s journey through its space program, from its early skywatchers, the myths and legends, and the dreamers in a newly independent country, to the visionaries who continue to inspire generations to look towards the stars.
In 1947, a newly independent India struggled to manage its new borders, limited resources, and a burgeoning population. Almost instinctively, its leaders turned towards the skies, looking up and beyond to see how they could use technology and space to help their people. This wasn’t a new endeavour, however. Skywatchers in ancient India had always looked towards the stars, mapping them, giving them names, and building myths. So, new India turned towards the stars once again - using satellites to help with agriculture, forecast weather, and build better communication. Today, India’s space program has morphed into something larger. The country looks towards the stars—not to sustain itself, but to explore, to reach the final frontier, and to take its own place among global space players.
India’s Space Odyssey is as much about India’s space program as it is about understanding space and space exploration. It aims to be a definitive encyclopedia that will combine key concepts with key events, people, and places, and place it within the global context.
The book will be broadly divided into four sections. The first section will look at Ancient Skywatchers, from Brahmagupta to Bhaskara and Aryabhatta in 6th century BCE, the myths around space, and the Vedanga Jyotisha, one of the earliest known Indian text on astronomy. The second section will look at astronomy from the 16th century, the royal patronage astronomers received as well as the observatories that were built during the time. The third section will look at a newly independent India and its efforts to build a space programme with the help of the US and Russia. The final section will look at India’s achievements in the 21st century and its missions.