The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has become one of the first picks for countries looking to launch satellites. The situation was not always like this.
The story of APPLE
Thirty-five years ago, on June 19, 1981, ISRO successfully launched its first communication satellite, Ariane Passenger PayLoad Experiment (Apple), on Ariane-1 from Kourou, French Guiana. This was a major milestone in India's space programme as Apple was used for several communication experiments, including relay of television programmes and radio networking. Incidentally, this satellite was transported on a bullock cart, captured for posterity in an unforgettable photograph.
It had only been six years since Aryabhatta, ISRO's first satellite, and the agency was still in its infancy much like the country's infrastructure. ISRO had been trying launch technology through its SLV class of launchers and the Satellite Telecommunication Experiments Project had been launched.
Apple laid the foundation for exponential growth in the Indian aeronautical industry.
Bhaskara and Rohini had been successes before Apple. But Apple laid the foundation for indigenous development of operational communication satellites which grew into a very large constellation of satellites in Insat and Gsat series that spurred the country's technological and economic growth. Newer applications like tele-education, tele-medicine, Village Resource Centre, Disaster Management System etc were enabled through space technology.