Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, the Missile Man of India

 Dr APJ Abdul Kalam,  the Missile Man of India


This is a great lesson which no university taught him, no book taught him, but that one

person that institution taught him such a bigger lesson so he  thought of sharing

with you how to manage Success most importantly the failure he  had to repeated a

number of times he  don't mind repeating that one incident that incident for him

is a university education.


He was  not ready anywhere he had   so far he had gone around the orbit 71 times around

the Sun. He had not gone through any education such a beautiful education he 

got in 1979 -1980 .  He  thought of sharing with us on this occasion it is

like this 1979 August 17th they  were ready for launch of the Satellite Launch

Vehicle (SLV) with 44 subsystems and thousands and  thousands of the components. It was

built in Vikram Sarabhai Space Center(VSSC) and at that time professor Satish dhawan was the 

Chairman,  Space Commission and is also Space Center and he gave him the

task 1973 to build a satellite launch vehicle to put a satellite in the orbit.  In

1973 he gave him this task in 1979 they were ready, thousands of engineers ten

thousands of workers and staff they all work together.  


Then they moved that satellite that

satellite launch vehicle from Vikram Sarabhai Space Center to the now      

Satish Dhawan Space Center (SDSC) at Sriharikota . So the launch vehicle 

was in the launchpad and that day 17th August 1979 and he was

the Mission Director, project director  and

computer takes over at T-minus eight minutes.  It was very difficult

for him as a mission director to check hundreds of parameters so it has to be

checked by computer.   They  handover the whole launch of the Rocket system system to the

computer so when T-minus eight minutes came,  he  handed over to the computer for the

launch on 17 August 1979 and thousands of people are waiting for the launch

mission centers and they're working throughout the country and some down

train stations exactly at T-minus eight minutes computer took over and then at

T-minus four minutes computer put a halt it says don't launch.  So they were

all because at that time the whole rocket system alive and everybody is a

closed system propellant system, electronic system all around ready to launch

computer says don't launch at T-minus four minutes that immediately a computer

printout comes out there is some problem in the second stage control system. There

is a leakage so you don't launch. behind him there are number of experts six -seven experts

experts ten years twenty years experienced people. He  talked to them and they are there

computers to find out what happened and they tell him within a within a minute

they say there's a problem in the second state control system and they  cannot

launch computer says. But they  believe as experts that the ignitor,  that is

oxidizer sufficiently more there, even though there is a leakage in system. You can

launch they asked him to launch that is he can say the computer shut off.  The

computer he  can manually launch the rocket system.

He took that he  discussed with his experts  believed in them he  agreed with them and

responsible for it.

 He  immediately put the rocket in the manual mode. So rocket took off hundred

seconds beautiful launch and the rocket first stage did it's job. Its a

four stage rocket system then the second stage took off with in a minute.

Within a second it recorded to spin that means which they study is control rocket

system by guidance system. But it was going to spin he  knew he  lost the rocket

system within few seconds instead of putting the satellite into orbit, the

whole system went to Bay of Bengal.  So it was a failure and then how do you handle a

failure is very important for the entrepreneurs life is not so simple.

they have to handle the failures with stout heart. His  chairman with that is that

Professor Satish Dhawan.

Exactly at 6 :30 he  was very tired of continuously working he come to my room

"You join me for a press conference".  On that day press call in the morning. There is a

press conference hundreds of Press reporters media people have assembled.

Just Professor Satish Dhawan told him I am going to handle the press


You're going to come with me.  He took him, there was a press the national press

international press. They asked lot of questions how can he put 20 cores in

Bay of Bengal,  one guy asked, and like that so many serious questions after

all people will ask they  questions.  People's money, so like that number of questions were

there and professor Satish Dhawan said "yes, it's a failure, first time we launched.  We have

gained a lot of system and definitely we will succeed".He also told that he  will give all the support ,

technologies and give the whole supposed to his scientists he  will be will succeeded

in a year's time.  He said friends, did you observe what happened there?  He was the   mission director,   project director, he had  failed the mission.

with him 5,000 people worked. But as Chairman Indian Space Research Organisation, he

take the responsibility, the failure he completely switched my failure to his


This is the leadership quality.

Exactly after one year, that is eighteenth july 1980 they went  to the launch pad and

countdown starts T-minus eight minutes, he handover to the computer, computer checks

out first stage you need it for it initiates the rocket system first stage gives

the required velocity.  Second stage gives the required velocity, third state gives

the required velocity and fourth stage required the escape velocity for

to put the satellite in the orbit, he was seeing,  what is the 

performance taking place.  He took the micros with the mic, announce all the

station.  Here is your mission director the satellite is into orbit and we

congratulate you he  told them,  no that's not the important that's one of the

important things happen but after 30 minutes Satish Dhawan called him,

"Go to the press conference you conduct the press conference," he said.  Can you see the

significance?  Failure he took it and success he gave him and  just a

great lesson is a great lesson.


This is a great lesson which no university taught him,

no book taught him,  But that one person, that institution that taught him such a

bigger lesson. 



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