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HomeDaily NewsMalayalee S Somanath is new Isro chairman

Malayalee S Somanath is new Isro chairman

Senior rocket scientist S Somanath has been appointed as the tenth chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (isro) and secretary, department of space (DoS). He will replace K Sivan, who will complete his term, which included a one-year extension, on January 14.

Somanath, who at present is serving as director of Vikram Sarabhai  Space  Centre.

Before becoming VSSC director, he had a two-and-a-half-year stint as director, Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC). Among other things, Somanath is credited with “energising development activities of the high thrust semi-cryogenic engine, conceiving a fast track hardware realisation and test programme, development of throttleable engines for the lander of Chandrayaan-2 and successful flight of an electric propulsion system in GSAT-9.”

“…Another objective is to align the overall space programme with the vision the government has put forth where DoS has to really become an enabler to cause the expansion of space enterprise in India. This will be done through appropriate legislation, framework and guidelines that have to be put in place,” Somanath told TOI.

Somanath earned his B.Tech in mechanical engineering from TKM College of Engineering, Kollam, and a Masters in aerospace engineering from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) with a gold medal, where he specialised in “structures, dynamics and control.

He joined VSSC in 1985 and was a team leader for integration of PSLV during the early phases. As PSLV project manager, he handled areas of mechanisms, pyro systems, integration and satellite launch service management.

According to Isro records, he joined the GSLV MkIII Project during 2003 and was the deputy project director responsible for overall design of the vehicle, mission design, structural design and integration before becoming the project director of GSLV Mk-III from June 2010 to 2014. Under his leadership, the first experimental flight of the CARE mission was successfully accomplished on December 18, 2014.


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