A new book The Leapfroggers: An Insider’s Account of ISRO by radio amateur Ved Prakash Sandlas VU2VP (SK) tells the story of India’s success in the field of space science
The Leapfroggers: An Insider’s Account of ISRO (published by Harper Collins) is the story of how India developed its launch vehicles literally from scratch. The author Ved Prakash Sandlas VU2VP, passed away on July 6, 2017, a year before his work hit the stands.
Sandlas, an electronics engineer from Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, joined Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station near Thiruvananthapuram in 1967. He was mentored by APJ Abdul Kalam, the then project director of the Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV) development mission and was fortunate enough to be guided by Vikram Sarabhai, the founding father of India’s space programme. Sandlas’ is the story of a boy born in a lower-middle-class family in New Delhi rising in life through hard work and perseverance.
There was a time when students interested in physics would assemble electric calling bells, radio sets and even transmission equipment with components collected from neighbourhood kirana stores. Sandlas was one such student. He assembled many electronic gadgets and went on to become a Ham Radio operator by the time he completed his undergraduate studies in physics.
His interest in Ham Radio came handy when he was posted in the SLV mission to develop a communication system.