Like a well directed movie, all the praise goes to the actor and rarely (or so it was before) did the director ever get any limelight. The Mars Orbiter Mission launched a few days ago and its huge success has brought massive recognition to ISRO and its scientists. But we’re not here to look at the film. We’re here to find out about the directors. Here are the men behind Mangalyaan:
1. K Radhakrishnan
Talk about versatility; here’s a man who’s the present chairman of ISRO, is also on the board of management at IIST (Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology), has served as the director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thiruvananthapuram, is part of the Indian Geophysical Union, an accomplished vocalist and Kathakali artist! WOW..! Yes, mind blown. He started his career as an Avionics Engineer at VSSC in 1971, in collaboration with ISRO. He obtained his doctorate from IIT, Kharagpur in the year 2000 and even performed at many of the venues at which he’s worked/studied as a vocalist. He recently won the Padma Bhushan Award for his contribution to Science and Engineering.
2. A S Kiran Kumar
Shri A S Kiran Kumar, the Director of SAC (Space Applications Centre), joined ISRO in 1975. He played a huge role in the development of Electro-Optical Imaging Sensors for Airborne, Low Earth Orbit and Geostationary orbit satellites. He was mainly responsible for evolving the observation strategy which included the land, ocean, atmospheric and planetary studies. He has a B.Sc and M.Sc in Electronics from Bangalore University and an M.Tech in Physical Engineering from IIS-B. He’s won many awards in his tenure with ISRO so far, including the ISRO Individual Service Award in 2006, Laurels for Team Achievement Award 2008 of International Academy of Astronautics and many more.
3. S Ramakrishnan
S Ramakrishnan assumed the role of Director at VSSC in 2013. He graduated from Mechanical Engineering, Guindy Engineering College in Chennai back in 1970 and received the highest honours from IIT-Madras in 1972. He joined ISRO subsequent to that and has worked in the development of India’s first Satellite Launch Vehicle under the guidance and leadership of Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. He then took on the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) from 1996-2202 and played a key role in its operational weight increase from 900 to 1500 kgs. He’s won the Dr.Biren Roy award from the Aeronautical Society of India for his role in the same and for entering into commercial launch services. He’s also received the Padmashree from the Government of India in 2003.
4. B Jayakumar
B Jayakumar is the Associate project director of the PSLV project. He’s aided Ramakrishnan and is responsible for the rocket systems. He is also the chief general manager of range operations at the Sriharikota Rocket port and co-ordinates the launch schedules without any slippages.
5. P Kunhikrishnan
Mr. P Kunhikrishnan is the project director of the PSLV programme. He’s successfully launched eight PSLV missions and is the mission director of MOM. He’s responsible for seeing the mission through successfully.
6. V Adimurthy
V Adimurthy is a professor at the Satish Dhawan Centre and is also the Dean of Research at IIST. He’s the man responsible for the mechanical design of the Mars Orbiter; basically his job is to make sure the orbiter can withstand any external conditions, no matter how harsh they may be.
7. Mylswamy Annadurai
He’s the current Program Director for the IRS and SSS (Indian Remote Sensing and Small, Science and Student Satellites), which successfully launched Chandrayaan 1 and 2, ASTROSAT, Aditya 1 and many others.
Last but not least, the budding youth of the ISRO deserve a round of applause for their determination and will to make MOM a success.