If you haven't seen this yet, you can use the info. from this article. This is from Vigyan Prasar
. I can't find the link on the website. So, here it is. The story of Indian Rockets
From Shrirangapattana to Shriharikota
The British consider the Duke of Wellington, Colonel Arthur Wellesley (1769-1852), who defeated Napoleon at the famous battle of Waterloo (1815), one of their greatest national heroes. However, not many people know that this hero of Waterloo had to run away from the battlefield when attacked by the rockets and musket-fire of Tipu Sultan's army.
It happened at the time of the Fourth Anglo-Mysore war (April 1799). General Harris led the British forces on the siege of Shrirangapattana, the capital of Tipu. The British forces had reached quite close to the fort of Shrirangapattana, but there was a formidable obstruction. To the south-west of the fort, near the village of Sultanpet, there was a large tope, where Tipu had stationed his rocketmen. Obviously, they had to be cleared out before the siege could be pressed closer to Shrirangapattana island. The commander chosen for this operation was Col. Wellesley.
Col. Wellesley was not an ordinary Englishman. He was the younger brother of Lord Wellesley, the then Governor-General of India (1798-1805). Col.Wellesley, advancing towards the tope after dark on the 5th April, was attacked by a tremendous fire of musketry and rockets. The men gave way and retreated in disorder. In the midst of chaos that followed, Col. Wellesley lost his way, hid himself somewhere in the night and could report to Harris late only on the next day.
The 'Sultanpet incident' had a profound and traumatic effect on Arthur Wellesley.
His biographer Guedalla tells us that, even late in his life, after Waterloo, the unpleasing night lived vividly in Arthur's memory.
After some days Gen. Harris planned another attack on Shringapattana. Help also came from Mumbai in the form of Gen. Stuart's forces. On the afternoon of 4th May when the final attack on the fort was led by Baird, he was again met by "furious musket and rocket fire". But this did not help much; the fort was taken. Tipu still refused to beg for peace on humiliating terms. He met a hero's end on 4th May while defending his capital. The taking over of Shrirangapattana was described by Arthur Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington, in the following words:
Nothing therefore can have exceeded what was done on the night of the 4th. Scarcely a house in the town was left unplundered, and I understand that in camp jewels of the greatest value, bars of gold, etc., etc., have been offered for sale in the bazars of the army by our soldiers, sepoys, and followers....
Along with the enormous loot another precious gift from India arrived in England. It was the Mysorean rocket, two specimens of which can still be seen in the Royal Artillery Museum,Woolwich Arsenal, London.
European rockets of the time had combustion chambers made of wood or some kind of paste board. The metal cylinder (casing) used for the Indian rocket was hammered soft iron; it represented an advance over earlier technology. At that time iron made in India was of a high quality, even though Indian furnaces were small and inefficient compared with those of Europe. Indian iron was sent to Sheffield, because it was 'excellently adapted to for the purpose of fine cutlery'.
The use of iron cylinder for the Mysore rockets increased bursting pressures, which allowed the propellant (gunpowder) to be packed to greater densities. This gave the Mysore rocket greater thrust and range. The metal cylinder was tied to a long bamboo pole or sword to provide stability to the rocket missile.
From different accounts we come to know that the Mysore rocket weighed from 2.2 to 5.5 kgs. The metal casing was 4 cms in diameter and 10 cms long. The range is often quoted as about 1.5 kms. In exceptional cases it was upto 2.5 kms.
There was a regular Rocket Corps of about 1200 men in Hyder Ali's army. Hyder's son Tipu raised it to about 5000 men. Furthermore, three or more rockets could be fired rapidly using a wheeled cart as a launch-pad. Though not very accurate, their flash and noise had much moral effect on men and beast when mass-fired.
Rockets were in use in Karnataka long before the Anglo-Mysore wars. Hyder Ali's father was already commanding 50 rocketmen for the Nawab of Arcot. In the Second Anglo-Mysore war, at the Battle of Pollilur (10 September 1780), Hyder and Tipu achieved a grand victory, the contributory cause being that one of the British ammunition tambrils was set on fire by Mysorean rockets. The scene is depicted in a famous mural at the Darya Daulat Bagh in Shrirangapattana.
An innovator in many ways, Tipu was greatly interested in rocket development. He showed great interest in such European inventions as barometers and thermometers and several other novel devices. Tipu had sent some of his rockets to the Sultan of Constantinople as presents.
Rockets were known in India much before the Anglo-Mysore wars. Their early references are mostly from south India. The Mysore rulers might have got information about gunpowder and rockets from Malabar, where the Chinese used to come for trading. For fire-crackers words like 'china-bedi' and 'china-padakkam' are still in use in the Malayalam language.
* Gunpowder was discovered in China in the ninth century A.D., when the first reference to the mixing of charcoal, saltpetre and sulphur is found. About the early eleventh century the Chinese developed a kind of incendiary arrow, in fact the rocket. We have descriptions of their use against the Mongols at the siege of Kai-Feng-Fue in 1232 A.D. It was through the Mongols or the Arabs that the know-how of gunpowder and rockets reached Europe in the thirteenth century.
India also acquired the know-how of gunpowder about the same time, either through Chinese alchemists or through Chinese traders coming to Indian ports. Anyway, it is certain that by about 1400 A.D. the Chinese fireworks techniques were well-known in India. There is a treatise on fireworks in Persian written about 1450 A.D. by Zain-ul-Abidin, the Muslim ruler of Kashmir. In the fifteenth century A.D. various kinds of fireworks were displayed at Vijayanagar during festivals. Ain-e-Akbari gives a list of 77 weapons in the arsenal of Akbar, bana (rocket) being mentioned at the end. In fact, the word bana or agnibana in the sense of a rocket finds a place in several Sanskrit works of the mediaeval period. In China the tube of a rocket was made of bamboo. The use of iron tube for rocket is probably an Indian innovation.
The British were greatly impressed by the Mysorean rockets using iron tubes. Several of them were sent to England, and from 1801, William Congreve (1772-1828), son of the Comptroller of the Royal Woolwich Arsenal, London, after thoroughly examining the Indian specimens, set on a vigorous research and development programme at the Arsenal's laboratory. Congreve prepared a new propellant mixture, and developed a rocket motor with a strong iron tube with conical nose, weighing about 14.5 kg. He also published three books on rocketry.
It is important to note that Congreve, on the basis of Newton' third law, recognised one of the chief advantages of the rocket -- the absence of recoil force, making it suitable for sea-borne assault. In the first quarter of the nineteenth century the British used Congreve's rockets in several sea-wars, e.g., in a trial attack on Boulogne in 1806, in the siege of Copenhagen in 1807, etc. The rockets that Congreve ultimately developed weighed 20 kg with a range up to 2.7 km.
Thus, from the above description it is amply clear that better rockets came to be developed in England only after experiencing and examining the Indian rockets. It was a time when in England the first wave of the Industrial Revolution and technical innovations had begun. Till the end of 18th century several products of Indian technology were much superior to that of the British, but there was no proper environment for their scientific development in our country. However, we should not forget that the plunder of Shrirangapattana and Tipu's rockets had also made a small but significant contribution to the Industrial Revolution that took place in England.
A new era of rocket development was initiated in the early 20th century. In 1903, Russian scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovasky (1857-1935) published his theory of rocket propulsion. He was the first scientist to establish that only a rocket can travel in interplanetary space. Then the American professor Robert Goddard (1882-1945) worked on the development of liquid-fuelled rockets, the first one being launched in 1929. During the Second World War a powerful V-2 rocket was developed in Germany and was used in large numbers against Britain and other European countries. At the end of the World War several V-2 rockets were shifted to America, and Wernher von Braun (1912-77), a German rocker expert, also took shelter there. After that there was vigorous development of modern rockets and missiles in the USA. However, the first artificial satellite Sputnik-1 was put into orbit in 1957 by the USSR. Also, it was a Soviet rocket that put the first man, Yuri Gagarin, into orbit in 1961.
Till then India had no modern rocket of its own. First time sounding rockets for atmospheric research were launched from Thumba in November 1963. They were acquired from foreign countries. The first indigenous rocket, Rohini-75, weigning 10 kgs, was successfully launched from Thumba in November 1967.
After that India went on building bigger and more powerful rockets. Right in the beginning, ISRO planned a rocket capable of sending a small satellite into orbit. Work also started on a rocket launching centre at the Shriharikota island.
There is not much difference between a rocket and a missile.Therefore, in the area of rocket technology one can not expect any help from foreign countries. India developed its powerful SLV-3 rocket with its own efforts within a short span of ten years. During the years 1880-83, SLV-3 rockets were successfuly launched from Shriharikota. It also successfuly placed a home-made 40 kg satellite in a near-earth orbit. With this India became the seventh country in the world to launch its satellite with its own rocket.
After SLV-3, Indian scientists developed a more powerful rocket -- the ASLV, which was tested for the first time in 1987. Then in May 1992, this ASLV rocket, launched from Shriharikota, placed the ISRO-made SrosS satellite into a near-earth orbit. Also, a more powerful rocket -- the PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) -- was in the making. Its second developmental flight in October 1994 was a great success. PSLV is capable of putting a 1000 kg remote sensing satellite into a 1000 km high polar orbit. This was proved when the PSLV rocket, launched from Shriharikaota on 26 May 1999, successfuly put into high orbits three satellites -- one Indian and two foreign made.
Now, in our country another rocket, more powerful than the PSLV, is almost ready for its maiden launching. Named GSLV (Geo-stationary Satellite Launch Vehicle), the rocket is capable of placing an Insat-like satellite into the 36,000 km high sun-synchronous circular orbit. According to ISRO, its first flight will take place some time in the first quarter of 2000 A.D. Thus, with the beginning of the new century and the new millennium (2001) India will step into a new era of rocket technology -- India will be capable of launching all its satellites with its own rockets.
In the field of rocket techology India is again attaining a leading position in the world. Modern rockets are based on a very high and advanced technology. But we should also remember that about two hundred years ago Indian rockets were the best in the world. The story of the development of Indian rockets from Shrirangapattan to Shriharikota has been quite topsy-turvy. The rockets of Shrirangapattan were used against an imperial power. The rockets being launched from Shriharikota are for space exploration and scientific benefits.
- Gunakar Muley Milestones in Rocket Development
1044 : The Chinese work Wu-ching tsung-yao gives the earliest gunpowder formula in any civilization.
1232 : Rockets were used by the Chinese against the Mongols at the seige of
circa1250 : Gunpowder became known in Europe.
1280 : An Arabic work refers to gunpowder and 'arrows from China'.
circa1400 : Gunpowder became known in India. After that we find many references to agnichurna (gunpowder), agnibana (rocket) and agnikrida (fireworks) in several literary sources.
1780-99 : Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan used rockets against British forces.
1801-02 : Englishman William Congreve examined Indian rockets.
1806-14 : Britain used rockets developed by Congreve in several sea-battles.
1903 : Russian scientist Tsiolkovsky published his work on rocket propulsion and space voyage.
1909 : American professor Robert Goddard completed his first studies on liquid-fuelled rocket.
1926 : Goddard launched his first liquid-fuelled rocket.
1929 : German scientist Hermann Oberth experimented with liquid-fuelled rocket-engines and later helped in the development of German military rockets.
1939-45 : Research on military rockets in Germany. Production and use of powerful V-2 rockets. After World War II several V-2 rockets were taken to USA, and rocket experts like Wernher von Braun also reached there.
1957 : USSR's first artificial satellite Sputnik-1 launched into orbit.
1961 : First manned spacecraft, Vostok-1, piloted by Yuri Gagarin, launched into orbit.
1963 : First time foreign-made sounding rockets launched from Thumba.
1967 : Indian made Rohini-75 rocket successfully launched from Thumba.
1969 : American spacecraft Apollo 11, launched by a powerful Saturn V rocket, softlanded on the moon, and Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin became the first men to set foot
on its surface.
1969 : (15 August) Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) formed under DAE.
1979-83 : SLV-3 rockets launched from Shriharikota.
1987-92 : ASLV rockets launched from Shriharikota.
1993-99 : PSLV rockets launched from Shriharikota.
1999 : (26 May) Launched from Shriharikota, the PSLV-C2 rocket placed into orbits three
satellites -- one Indian and two foreign.
2000 : Proposed first flight of GSLV rocket.