The Indian Scientists behind the Moon Mission

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India is not only the fourth nation in the world to land on the Moon, but it is also the first to successfully make a landing on the South Pole of the Lunar surface. All thanks to ISRO and the masterminds behind the victorious mission.

ISRO has made India proud and created history. The highly ambitious Chandrayaan-3 mission successfully landed on the South Pole of the Moon on August 23 at 18:04 PM, making India the first country in the world to do so.

“India’s successful Moon mission is not just India’s alone…This success belongs to all of humanity. No country has reached the South Pole of the moon before. With the hard work of our scientists we have reached there,” says PM Modi on the soft landing of ISRO’s Chandrayaan-3 on the moon.

I wanted toknow about the scientists behind Chandrayaan-3 success. Because of their hard work, we could reach the South Pole of the moon; which no country ever achieved. Many like me thought that the scientists might have received education at NASA or any institution of international repute.  They might have received, if not the postgraduation degree from US university, at least a PhD! But surprisingly, all the scientists had completed their school to higher studies in India only except the veteranS Mohana Kumar, who studied the University of Maryland, USA. Is it not astonishing?

At 18:04 hrs on August 23, 2023, India and its elite space research agency, ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) created history. The highly anticipated Chandrayaan-3 has successfully landed on the surface of the Moon. India is not only the fourth nation in the world to land on the Moon, but it is also the first to successfully make a landing on the South Pole of the Lunar surface. All thanks to ISRO and the masterminds behind the victorious mission.

August 23 will go down in history as one of the proudest days for India and the scientific community. Let’s commemorate this marvelous achievement by celebrating the scientists behind the lunar mission, Chandrayaan-3.

  1. Somanath, Chairman, ISROisthe Chairman of the elite space research agencysince 2022. He is an accomplished aerospace engineer, who played a pivotal role in crafting the design of the Launch Vehicle Mark-3, or the Bahubali rocket, which launched Chandrayaan-3 into orbit.Under his leadership, India became the fourth nation in the world to successfully land on the Moon’s surface.

Somanath has a B. Tech in Mechanical Engineering from TKM College of Engineering, Kollam, and a Master degree (M. Tech) in Aerospace Engineering from IIS (Indian Institute of Science) in Bangalore.

P Veeramuthuvel was the overall Project Director of Chandraayan-3 and the Space Infrastructure Programme Officer at ISRO.

Ever since the craft was launched on July 14, 2023, Veeramuthuvel and his team have been keeping tracks of the craft at the control centre at the ISRO Telemetry, Tracking, and Command Network Centre (ISTRAC) to continually monitor its health and activities during its three-weeks longs journey to the moon.

Veeramuthuvel has a degree from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M).

Dr. S Unnikrishnan Nair, Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre was also one of the major figures behind the success of Chandrayaan-3.

He and his team at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) were in charge of building the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mark-III, also known as the Bahubali rocket, alongside Somanath.

Nair has a B.Tech. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Mar Athanasius College of Engineering affiliated with Kerala University, a Master’s in Aerospace Engineering from IISc, Bengaluru, and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Madras, Chennai.

B N Ramakrishnais the 7th director of ISRO Telemetry, Tracking, and Command Network Centre (ISTRAC). The Centre ‘ISTRAC’is connected to an ISRO deep space network station near Bengaluru and international earth stations for Chandrayaan-3.

He is an expert in the areas of navigation and orbit determination of spacecrafts.

Ramakrishna has a Master’s Degree in Science (MSc.).

S Mohana Kumar, Mission Director is a veteran, who has been a part of ISRO for over 30 years.

He was the Mission Director for Chandrayaan-3 and he officially announced the launch of the spacecraft from Sriharikota space center on July 14.

He got advanced degrees from esteemed institutions like the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, the University of Maryland and the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.

M Sankaran, Director, U R Rao Satellite Centre is the head of the ISRO Satellite Centre, the organisation that produces spacecraft for the agency’s space missions.Chandrayaan-3 was developed by ISRO Satellite Centre.

His primary job included ensuring that the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft was appropriately heat and cold-tested. He was also responsible for testing the strength of the Vikram Lander.

He was also involved in the construction of solar arrays, power systems and communication systems for Chandrayaan-1 and 2 and the Mars Orbiter Mission.

Sankaran holds a Master’s Degree in Physics from Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu.

Ms. Kalpana Kis the Deputy Project Director for the lunar mission, Chandrayaan-3.

She is an engineer who has also worked in Chandrayaan-2 and Mangalyaan.

She graduated in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Madras University.

Ms. Muthayya Vanitha, Deputy Director, UR Rao Satellite Center, is the first female project director at ISRO and also the first woman to lead an interplanetary mission.

She is an electronics system engineer and was the Deputy Director for the Chandrayaan-3 mission.She graduated from College of Engineering, Guindy, Chennai.

Ms. RituKaridhal Srivastava, Senior scientist, ISRO is known as the ‘Indian Rocket Woman’.

She was also the Deputy Operations Director for the 2014 Mars Orbiter Mission, popularly known as the MOM mission. She oversaw the lunar mission Chandrayaan-3 as well.

Srivastava has a B. Sc. in Physics from the University of Lucknow and an M. Sc. in Physics from the University of Lucknow.

She is also currently enrolled in a Doctorate course in the Physics Department of the University of Lucknow.

These above figures were largely responsible for etching India’s name in history books with the historical success of Chandrayaan-3. The mission has landed on the South Pole of the Moon, where water molecules and ice was discovered. Carrying only four pieces of scientific equipments, it hasconducted a variety of tests to detect moonquakes, how heat moves through the lunar surface, understand the plasma environment around the moon, and to understand the gravitational interaction between the Moon and the planet.

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