Rocket in a bicycle & Satellite in a bullock cart while Rahul Gandhi celebrates his birthday on a plane. What is the truth?


Scientists were forced to carry equipment on bicycles- Bullock carts, But the Nehru-Gandhi family used to celebrate birthdays on special Airplanes.

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In the above viral tweet, we can see a collage of four pictures. The three pictures on the left side display how the scientists of India are using cycles and bullock carts to carry their satellites and other equipment. The fourth picture on the right side shows how Rahul Gandhi celebrated his birthday with his family on a plane.

The user has compared and shared the pictures along with a message saying that the Scientists were forced to carry equipment on bicycles and bullock carts whereas the Nehru-Gandhi family celebrate birthdays on special Airplane. This tweet was shared with several hashtags by many users on social media which can be viewed here, here and here. Come, let’s see the authenticity behind these claims.

What’s the truth?

When we started our research using the simple Google reverse image process, we found that in the 1960s, a Catholic church in the village of Thumba near Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala was converted into the Thumba Ballistic Missile Test Site.

Early days of Thumba:

As the missile test site was set up in the early days, there were not great vehicle facilities. Therefore, the scientists must travel to Thiruvananthapuram by bicycle in those times. So, they transported the parts for the first missile launch in 1963 by using the bicycle.

Scientific Reason behind the APPLE satellite carried on a bullock cart:

India’s first communication satellite “Apple” was dedicated to India on August 13, 1981, by Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. A photo of the Apple satellite being placed on a bullock cart during testing has appeared on ISRO’s website. When reverse-searching the images we found that the satellite was carried in a bullock cart not due to insufficient funds but for other reasons.

Youturn covered this and published an article on the same. Read below to know more about it.

Read More: Did Congress not provide proper transportation for the scientists to carry satellite ?

To make it precise, one of the Live Mint articles titled ‘The rocket science behind the bullock cart in India’s space story’ published in 2019 states that the Former ISRO Scientist Vasagam, Project Director of APPLE mentioned, “APPLE was put on a bullock cart to provide a non-magnetic environment and to conduct the antenna test in an open field to remedy the TT&C link problem caused by impedance matching problem”.

Rahul Gandhi’s birthday celebration in an aeroplane:

The image of Rahul Gandhi’s birthday celebration was found tweeted by the Congress History X page in January 2016 with the caption “Indira Gandhi Celebrating Birthday of Rahul Gandhi in Aeroplane”.

Indira Gandhi and her family celebrated Rahul Gandhi’s birthday in 1977 by plane. Rocket parts were transported by bicycle in the 1960s when Nehru was prime minister, while satellites were transported by bullock carts in the 1980s as a precautionary measure.

So it is clear that right-wing supporters are spreading the allegations against Rahul Gandhi and his family after the successful landing of Chandrayaan-3 on moon.


Therefore, we conclude that all the pictures shared by social media users are true rather it is their context which is misleading. During the early days of the Thumba Rocket Launch Centre there was not many facilities, so the scientists used bicycle for transportation.

Regarding the bullock cart carrying the satellites, it is to conduct an antenna test in a non-magnetic environment before the launch. Lastly, the birthday celebration picture was from 1977 and not from 1960.

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