Tarmak007 -- A bold blog on Indian defence: View from Wheeler Island: Saluting the spirit of Indian missile scientists

Sunday, December 19, 2010

View from Wheeler Island: Saluting the spirit of Indian missile scientists

 OVER TO WHEELER ISLAND: The first five photos are taken on way to Wheeler Island, during the 5-hour road journey from Bhubaneswar airport to Dhamra. To reach Wheeler Island -- the home of India's Launch Complex-4 -- one has to travel from Dhamra by sea. The  time taken will purely depend upon the kind of boat you board. A speedboat will take you to the island in  25 minutes, if not the journey might take over an hour. The last 2 photos are that of the sea seen from the Wheeler Island. The entire area (from Dhamra and in the island)  is a very-high security zone with multiple checking and identity verifying points. Photos: Tarmak007
December 10, 2010 would have been a historic day for Indian missile scientists working with DRDO. After toiling hard -- day in and day out -- their moment of reckoning has just arrived. Sitting pretty on a home-grown launcher was India’s new missile Agni-II Prime, which insiders in DRDO confirmed could travel in excess of 3,000 km. Sadly, seconds after its lift-off, A2P plunged into the sea.
The Breaking News followed! Another failure for DRDO. Agni-II Prime fails. I was inside the Block Office (which houses the command and control centre), watching A2P being swallowed by the sea. There was complete silence inside the Block Office. The joy of seeing the missile lifting-off lasted only for a few seconds. Giving me company were some of the big newsmakers of India’s missile programs. And, then there were many unsung heroes. In their 20s, early  30s, late & mid 40s. This series (Agni Sakshi) on Tarmka007 is dedicated to these unsung heroes. Agni Sakshi is my attempt to bring to you some human-interest stories on Indian scientists, which were never told, before.
The mission and missile differed from one launch after another, but the blood and sweat behind them often remained the same. It was that of an Indian scientist, who was often battered and butchered by many. What I saw in Wheeler Island was truly an inspiring stuff. Honestly, unbelievable! I am not sure by writing a series; I can do any justice to our missile scientists. I am not sure if the world will start looking at our scientists as true heroes and not as duds, a label often used to describe their clan.
This is just an attempt to share with you all, what I saw. What I heard. And, what I experienced, off Orissa coast. I hope to wind up the series within a week. I am keen to keep the series simple and straight. Less take on technology and more meat on men and their might. Their plight.
This piece is just the trailer. The series will start on Monday, December 20. Agni Sakshi will be different in many ways. You will agree, very soon!
Tomorrow – Part 1: Agni-II Prime failed, but nobody died!
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