Situated near the northern boundary of Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS), a few metres from the coastline, St Mary Magdalene Church, lined with high-tech artefacts and visuals, speak the tell tales on the birth of Indian Space Programme.
It was in this church that the first rocket systems were assembled and integrated in 1962. The Bishop House, forming part of the church, functioned at that time as the office of the Director, TERLS. As the scientific activities gathered momentum, new projects came up, which necessitated the construction of new buildings. The first in the line were the Control Centre and then the R&D complex on the Veli Hills, all of which relegated the church building into the background.
But the good old church refused to go into oblivion! It sprang back to life with renewed vigour. It was converted into a photographic facility, this time as the official chronicler of the Indian Space Programme. In 1985, the church was converted into a Space Museum.
The museum has full-scale model of PSLV and PSLV heat shield on its premises. The museum also has scaled down (one fifth in size) models of GSLV, GSLV Mk-III and ATV.
Space Museum provides a tell-tale account of the Indian Space Programme from its infancy. The story of the Indian Space Programme is unfurled in six sections, comprising of history, education, technology, applications, global and the future. A movie theatre with surround sound system screens specially tailored movies on Indian Space Programme.
The museum attracts regular crowds including students and the public of the order of a lakh in a year. The museum is open to public from 09 30 to 16 00 hrs on all days except Sundays and declared holidays.
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Sounding Rocket Launches
Sounding rockets are generally launched from TERLS monthly on every third Wednesday at 11 45 hrs (subject to change for any technical reasons), for scientific purposes. To enthuse public on space related activities, visitors are allowed to witness the launch.