There are lot of small things that got me interested in SPACE which became a sort of hobby for me later in my life but it all started with Television & Doordarshan!
Television & Doordarshan
As a kid I used to sleep very early at around 7 or 7:30 PM (around 6 yrs) .Once it was little late for me to sleep and my father called me to see some footage on the News which was being telecasted on Doordarshan daily at 7:30 PM (Tamil News). (Doordarshan is a Staterun broadcaster in India and it was the only television channel during early 90’s)
I was bewildered by what I saw on the Doordarshan News as it was bigger than any object I saw and after few seconds it zoomed into sky & my father who was near to me remarked to me it’s a rocket (That was the 1st time I ever heard of the word “rocket”). I don’t remember exactly when it was but it must be around 92 to 93 when I was a 6 year old kid!
Even since I saw that rocket launch, I was interested in seeing that again.So after that I started seeing the Doordarshan’s News regularly in the hope I would see the footage of rocket launch again 🙂 ( I still think what I saw was a test launch of a Prithvi missile and not rocket launch)
I would say that was my first brush with rockets and space! After that I didn’t miss any launches by ISRO and even if I miss the live telecast I would watch the footage of launch in Doordarshan News and all the live launches are always a treat to watch! Be it the telemetry data that is displayed on the screens or the launch sequence or the preflight curtain raiser which Doordarshan telecasts!
Most Indian kids from 90’s might have heard about Turning point series on Doordarshan which was hosted by Girish Karnad . Turning Point series explained about different stuff in science in a precise and concise manner which would be even understood by kids!
And in that series on every episode, there used to be a small part for Prof.Yashpal who used to explain about different concepts like Solar System, Solar Eclipse,Blackholes etc., which got me more and more inclined towards SPACE 🙂 It was one of the best ever science series in India!
Here is theme song of it – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFFKkqg1d90
Comets & Meteorites:
The another one which got me more hooked during my childhood is comets My father used to say often about comets like Halley which will have a big tail (I used to ask how they will have big tail).And during 95-96 there was comet called “Hyakutake” (It was discovered by Japanese Astronomer). We were able to see with naked eye and that was my first brush with the comets!
And he used to say about the meteorite crash in Siberia on which train driver seeing it stopped the train! I used to think this was a fake story till I heard about Tunguska_event (But it seems the story of train driver stopping is still fake)
I remember when I was a 6th grader, I used to get up early in the morning just to see the planets because during the twilight planets will be the brightest objects on the sky and not the stars.And I used to mark position of the planets like a kid with some points and a straight line (No Astronomical marking!) I am still not sure what was I trying to do at that time but it was fun!
Whenever I see the footage of Space Shuttle on News, I used to get surprised by the size of the External Fuel Tank and how big it is! With space shuttle being perched on the top of those rockets, as a kid I used to think how the astronauts are getting seated inside it.. And I also used to be curious on why parachutes getting deployed when a space shuttle lands (Actually it’s a drog chute and not a parachute which I came to know about much later)
Space Shuttle still remains my ultimate machine!
The big red one is the External Fuel Tank!
Apollo & Moon Landings:
I came to know about this only from my father as he used to remark how Neil Armstrong was wary about Moon’s surface and before stepping down from the lander, he tested moon’s surface by keeping his one feet still on the lander and another on the surface! And not only that he also said about the Rover like device which the astronauts used on the Moon’s surface during later moon landings!
That got me pretty much interested in Moon without Internet, I would say I am pretty much glad that I got lot of these information my dad!
P.S : I didn’t knew about the Saturn rockets or who was the first man on Moon or even about Yuri Gargin till 2000’s ( I read a lot of information through wikipedia!)
And once the Internet become much more prominent in 2000’s there was lot of information related to Space. Sites like Wikipedia,NASA.gov and ISRO.gov.in have some of the best information out there about the different missions!
Korelov & Von Braun
One of my collegemates showed me a video of “SpaceRace” which is one hell of a series and I would say everyone should see it! And that got me more and more interested in Space! The contribution by Korelov and Von Braun should be appreciated forever. We are still relying on Korelov’s rockets and We got to Moon because of Von Braun under whose guidance Saturn-V was designed! This shows how much we are indebted to them and they should have been awarded Nobel prizes for their contribution towards SPACE!
There are lot of small things like the ones mentioned above got me so much interested in SPACE and this is still a passion for me! Space stands as example of the proverb “Known is a Drop, Unknown is an Ocean”!