India-Norway Space Cooperation

Context: Norwegian Ambassador’s visit to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) headquarters offers an occasion to recall the launch of Rohini RH-300 Mk-II, the challenging mission which took place 26 years ago at Ny-Alesund, Svalbard.

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About Rohini RH-300 Mk-II

  • It is a single-stage sounding rocket, derived from French Belier rocket engine technology. 
  • It was part of the Rohini family of sounding rockets developed by ISRO’s Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thiruvananthapuram.
  • It rose to the skies from Svalbard, Norway, an archipelago situated in the Arctic Ocean, operationalising a new rocket launching range there.

The RH-300 Mk-II was given a new name by the NSC (Norwegian Space Centre): Isbjorn-1, which translates literally as ‘Polar Bear-I.’

About Sounding Rocket

  • Sounding rockets are one or two-stage solid propellant rockets used for probing the upper atmospheric regions and for space research. 
  • They also serve as easily affordable platforms to test or prove prototypes of new components or subsystems intended for use in launch vehicles and satellites.
  • It is used for a variety of scientific purposes, including atmospheric research, astronomy, microgravity experiments, and space technology testing.
  • The first sounding rocket to be launched from Thumba was the American Nike-Apache in 1963. 

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