Chennai, Sep 28 (IANS) India should look for a short name for its small rocket under development that describes its capability as well as the country’s culture than a long winding name, said space experts.
Recently an Indian Coast Guard off-shore patrol vessel was named Varaha. The name ‘Varaha’ is taken from the Puranas. He was the third incarnation of Lord Vishnu taking the form of a boar to protect the earth by carrying it out of the sea on his tusks.
So why not a short and apt name for India’s small rocket that is under development?
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is developing a small rocket with a maximum carrying capacity of 500 kg and currently named as Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV).
“It will be appropriate if ISRO’s small rocket is named as `Vamana’- the fifth avatar of Hindu Lord Vishnu. Though ‘Vamana’ first comes as a dwarf, he shoots up to a giant size covering the earth and underworld with one step, the heavens with another step and the third step is placed on the head of King Mahabali,” Tapan Misra, Senior Advisor to ISRO and Adjunct Professor at the Indian Institute of Technology-Kharagpur told IANS.
While the dwarf form was called ‘Vamana’, the giant form of Lord Vishnu was called as ‘Trivikrama’ or three steps.
Misra was also the Director of ISRO’s Space Applications Centre and played a key role in the design and development of C-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) of RISAT-1 satellite.
“It is time to look into our scriptures, culture and come up with a name that would signify features of the new rocket and its power,” former ISRO Chairman G. Madhavan Nair told IANS.
He referred to India’s heavy lift rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle – Mark III (GSLV-Mk III) being nick named as ‘Bahubali’.
While ISRO officials called the heavy lift 640-tonne GSLV Mk III rocket as ‘fat boy’, the media nicknamed it ‘Bahubali’, like the hero in the successful film “Bahubali” who lifts a heavy ‘Lingam’.
“Even the rocket Ariane belonging to European space agency Arianespace gets its name from a French mythological character Ariadne,” a retired senior ISRO official toldudaipur kiranpreferring anonymity.
He said, the Chinese and Russian rockets – Long March and Soyuz respectively – got their names from their ideologies and history.
Interestingly, India’s first sounding rocket was named as Rohini after the star. The rocket was made for meteorological and atmospheric studies.
Later the rockets bore long winding names based on the orbit where they will put the satellites like Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (polar orbit – PSLV) and GSLV (geosynchronous orbit).
India also named its initial satellites after Aryabhatta-famous mathematician-astronomer- and mathematicians Bhaskara I and Bhaskara II.
Sometime later, the thinking within ISRO changed. The satellites were named in line with the purpose for which they were launched.
A noticeable change in the naming happened with the Indian satellite navigation system. Initially named as the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) it was finally renamed as NavIC – taking the first three letters from the word navigation and first two letters from the words ‘Indian Constellation’.
The word ‘navik’ also means ‘sailor’ in Sanskrit.
The Indian radar imaging satellite RISAT was first proposed to be named as ‘Sanjay’ after Sanjaya in Mahabharata who had the divine vision and narrated the happening in the battlefield to his blind King Dhritarashtra in the palace.
“I had proposed to name RISAT as ‘Sanjay’ after the character in the Indian epic Mahabharata. However, the idea was shot down,” Misra said.