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ISRO sets up viewers gallery to see rocket launches up close

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Space enthusiasts witnessed ISRO's PSLV C-45 rocket launch from Sriharikota on April 1, 2019. Photo: ISRO

SRIHARIKOTA (PTI): Thousands of ardent space watchers on Monday got to see and feel the vibrations of PSLV-C45 launch first hand, courtesy a viewing gallery set up by ISRO, just three kilometres from the launch site.

The gallery is part of the Space theme park which will have a museum on space technology. It is aimed at attracting more people and students and encouraging them to know about rockets, witness launches and study about the work done by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), an official said.

ISRO chairman K Sivan had inaugurated the park on March 31.

It will have a gallery to initially accommodate 5,000 people.

On March 31, nearly 1,000 people registered using the ISRO website to witness the launch of PSLV-C45 mission from the gallery.

Sivan said the gallery was built following requests from the public to witness the launch with naked eye and to feel the vibrations during a launch.

"So ISRO made the viewer gallery for this purpose. Today around 1,200 viewers enjoyed this mission. From the next mission onwards, we will increase the intake... Next mission probably 5,000 people will be allowed. Subsequently this capacity will be increased to 10,000.

"So definitely, whoever did not get a chance to view it this time, definitely they have got a better chance next time," he said addressing scientists from the Mission Control Centre after the successful launch of EMISAT, a military satellite and 28 foreign nano satellites on-board PSLV-C45.

An ISRO official said the gallery will be opened to the public ahead of rocket launches and that visitors need to book through the ISRO website to gain entry.

"Besides accommodating individuals at the park, a museum on rockets is also being planned at the venue," he said.

He said the viewing gallery which can accommodate about 10,000 people was set up in a record 40 days.

A visitor who witnessed Monday's launch described it as a memorable experience.

"This is the first time I am seeing a rocket launch. It was a memorable experience," he said.

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