Thumba


Thumba

Thumba is a fishing village near Thiruvananthapuram, capital of Kerala, India.

Thumba became well-known to the out-siders after the establishment of Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS), which was the first of that kind in India. It was started in 1962, at Thumba near Trivandrum (also known as Thiruvananthapuram) on the southern tip of India very close to earth's magnetic equator to launch sounding rockets. Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam (former President of Indian Republic) was amongst the initial team of rocket engineers. The first sounding rocket, Nike-Apache, was launched rocket on 21 Nov 1963. The Rohini Sounding Rocket (RSR) program to develop indigenously developed and fabricated sounding rockets launched the first single-stage Rohini (RH-75) rocket (32 kg rocket with 7 kg payload to ~10 km altitude) in 1967, followed by a two-stage Rohini rocket (100 kg payload to over 320 km altitude). Apart from Indian payload, sounding rockets from many other countries (including USA, Russia, Japan, France, Germany) were also launched from Thumba, as part of mutual international collaboration. TERLS developed infrastructure for all aspects of rocketry, ranging from rocket design, rocket propellant, rocket motor casting, integration, payload-assembly, testing, evaluation besides building subsystems like payload housing and jettisonable nose cone. Fiber Reinforced Plastics composite materials for nosecone were used in early programs at TERLS.

The rocket launch from TERLS came to a stand-still in 2000. Later in 2002, the rocket launchings were resumed from TERLS [http://asia.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=9131] . ISRO announced their plans to launch 180 number of RH-200 rockets from TERLS over the next five years.The latest launch from this station was on 5th of October 08. It was a rocket. We were all amazed to see it.

Location and Geography

Thumba is a vast village bordering Meenumkulam in the east, St. Dominic's Vettucaud in the north, and Kochuthura in the south; towards its west is the Arabian Sea. While the border with Meenumkulam is the Parvathi Puthannaar canal, the border with Kochuthura is the Rajiv Gandhi Nagar road. The entire village is flat at sea-level and the ground near to the coast is made of tan coloured beach sand. This is in stark contrast to the rest of the village where the ground is made of white sand where, till the developments of late 1990s, large amounts of a medicinal herb with white flowers called "Thumba" grew in abundance, hence the name.


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