India's first rocket launch became possible quite literally after divine intervention. The land which now houses India's famed Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, from where, in 1963, Indians watched their first rocket head for space, was originally a Catholic church.
Ariane Passenger PayLoad Experiment, APPLE was an experimental communication satellite successfully launched by Ariane-1, from Kourou, French Guiana on June 19, 1981, exactly 35 years back, marking an important milestone in India's space programme. APPLE was designed and built as a sandwich passenger-carrying Meteosat on top and CAT (Capsule Ariane Technologique) module below. It was boosted into Geo-Synchronous Orbit (GSO) by ISRO's own apogee motor derived from the fourth stage motor of the SLV-3. APPLE spacecraft was designed and built in just two years with limited infrastructure in industrial sheds. It gave ISRO valuable hands-on experience in designing and developing three-axis stabilized geostationary communication satellites as well as in orbit raising manoeuvres, in orbit deployment of appendages, station keeping, etc.