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Chandrayaan-3 Makers: Brain Behind India’s Dynamic Moon Mission; Driving Lunar Dreams Forward

Chandrayaan-3 Makers: Dedicated Team of Nearly 1,000 Engineers And Scientists Who Have Worked Tirelessly, Contributing To The Realization of The Approximately Rs700 Crore Venture

Chennai,23 August(City Times): Chandrayaan-3 Makers: A remarkable feat has been brewing for four years in India’s space scene – the creation of Chandrayaan-3 satellite. This significant endeavor has powered through even during the unprecedented challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. At the helm of this ambitious mission is ISRO Chairman S Somanath, alongside a dedicated team of nearly 1,000 engineers and scientists who have worked tirelessly, contributing to the realization of the approximately ₹700 crore venture.

Guiding Light: S Somanath

Chandrayaan-3 Makers: Leading the charge is S Somanath, an aerospace engineer and the Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). He stands as a pivotal force behind the design of the mighty Launch Vehicle Mark-3, fondly known as the Bahuballi rocket. This monumental rocket propelled Chandrayaan-3 into its orbit.

Somanath’s adept leadership skills played a vital role in ensuring rigorous testing of the satellite before its awe-inspiring launch. An alumnus of the prestigious Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, Somanath’s multifaceted talents include proficiency in Sanskrit and acting in a Sanskrit film named “Yaanam.” His name itself, Somanath, holds the essence of being the “Lord of the Moon.”

S Somanath, the ISRO Chairman, took on his crucial role in January 2022, becoming a central figure in India’s grand moon mission. Before this, he led the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) and the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre, which are key parts of ISRO focusing on rocket technologies.

Under his guidance, significant missions like Chandrayaan-3, Aditya-L1 (a mission studying the Sun), and Gaganyaan (India’s first manned mission) are progressing. With expertise in system engineering of launch vehicles, he has played pivotal roles in crafting the architecture, propulsion stages design, structural dynamics, separation systems, vehicle integration, and integration procedures for PSLV and GSLV MkIII.

Orchestrator of Lunar Dreams: Veeramuthuvel

Chandrayaan-3 Makers: At the heart of Chandrayaan-3’s creation is Mr Veeramuthuvel, the dedicated project director. With a Masters of Technology degree from Chennai, he has devoted the past four years to India’s lunar aspirations. Mr Veeramuthuvel is no stranger to lunar missions, having actively participated in the Chandrayaan-2 and Mangalyaan ventures. His in-depth understanding of the intricacies surrounding the previous Vikram lander contributed significantly to the creation of the robust Chandrayaan-3 mission.

P Veeramuthuvel’s Remarkable Journey

Chandrayaan-3 Makers:From humble beginnings in Villupuram, scientist P Veeramuthuvel has risen to lead a monumental endeavor. Born into a modest family, Veeramuthuvel’s journey was propelled by an unwavering passion for space exploration. His pivotal role as the project director for Chandrayaan-3 has brought him immense pride and a sense of accomplishment. With a resounding successful launch of the LVM3 rocket carrying the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft, Veeramuthuvel’s dedication and determination have borne fruit.

In the wake of the triumphant launch, Veeramuthuvel remains grounded, emphasizing that the mission is only halfway complete. The real test lies ahead – a soft landing on the moon’s surface. He highlights the critical maneuvers that will unfold over the next 40 days, underscoring their significance in achieving a successful lunar landing. For Veeramuthuvel, the journey has just entered a new phase that demands equal focus and dedication.

As a Tamilian, Veeramuthuvel recognizes that the success of Chandrayaan-3 transcends regional boundaries. He stresses that this achievement is a matter of national pride, with over 500 individuals from across the nation contributing to the mission’s success. Veeramuthuvel emphasizes that credit is due to the collective efforts of a diverse team working harmoniously towards a common goal.

From Railway Quarters to ISRO

Chandrayaan-3 Makers: For Veeramuthuvel, the path to ISRO was a lifelong aspiration nurtured since childhood. His father, P Palanivel, shares that despite various opportunities and job offers, Veeramuthuvel remained steadfast in his dream. In 2014, that dream transformed into reality when he joined ISRO as a scientist. Hailing from a railway quarters in Villupuram, Veeramuthuvel’s journey from a railway school to becoming the project director of Chandrayaan-3 stands as a testament to his determination and dedication.

Engineer Behind Success: S Unnikrishnan Nair

Chandrayaan-3 Makers: At the forefront of India’s space achievements is S Unnikrishnan Nair, leading the development of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mark-III, now known as the Launch Vehicle Mark-III. With a dedicated team at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), this rocket’s journey is under Nair’s guidance.

Crucial Roles in Mission Control

Heading the VSSC, S Unnikrishnan Nair and his team shoulder critical responsibilities for the mission’s success. As this was the 7th mission for LVM3, Nair’s confidence shines as he highlights the herculean effort behind the third launch this year alone, boasting an impeccable 100% success rate.

A Journey of Expertise and Dedication

Nair’s academic journey encompasses BTech in Mechanical Engineering from Kerala University, ME in Aerospace Engineering from IISc, Bengaluru, and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from IIT(M), Chennai. Taking the helm of the Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC) in January 2019, he’s been leading the charge for the Gaganyaan programme while simultaneously taking on responsibilities at VSSC.

A Trail of Milestones

Nair’s involvement spans vital milestones, from the Space Capsule Recovery Experiment (SRE) to the successful launch of the Crew Module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment (CARE). His contributions haven’t gone unnoticed, with Isro awards recognizing his exceptional work in technology development for manned space missions.

From rocket propulsion to human spaceflight, S Unnikrishnan Nair’s journey embodies expertise, dedication, and a deep-seated commitment to India’s space aspirations.

Rising Above Pandemic Hurdles: Kalpana K

Amidst the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, Kalpana K, an unwavering engineer committed to India’s satellite endeavors, emerged as a pillar of strength. With a dedication that knows no bounds, she played an integral role in keeping the Chandrayaan-3 team motivated and focused during trying times. Kalpana K’s contributions extend beyond Chandrayaan-3, as she had previously lent her expertise to the Chandrayaan-2 and Mangalyaan missions.

Pioneer of Lunar Missions: M Vanitha

Chandrayaan-3 Makers:Leading the Chandrayaan-2 mission as project director, M Vanitha etched her name in history as the first woman in India to spearhead a lunar expedition. Her invaluable knowledge and insights garnered from the Chandrayaan-2 project have seamlessly flowed into the creation of Chandrayaan-3. Beyond her professional achievements, M Vanitha is known for her love of gardening, reflecting a spirit of nurturing and growth.

Leading Satellite Innovator: M Sankaran

Chandrayaan-3 Makers:Hailed as the powerhouse of ISRO, M Sankaran’s expertise in devising novel power systems and solar arrays for satellites has earned him recognition. With a wealth of experience spanning over three decades, his contributions have significantly impacted Chandrayaan-1, Mangalyaan, and Chandrayaan-2 satellites. His meticulous efforts ensured the thorough testing of Chandrayaan-3, including evaluating the lander’s strength on a simulated lunar terrain.

Chandrayaan-3 Makers:M Sankaran is an eminent figure within the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), recognized for his significant contributions in the realm of space technology.

Guiding the Satellite Frontier

Chandrayaan-3 Makers: Appointed as the Director of U R Rao Satellite Centre (URSC), M Sankaran now heads the premier center responsible for designing, developing, and realizing ISRO’s satellites. His leadership since June 2021 has driven the creation of diverse satellite types, catering to crucial national needs encompassing communication, navigation, remote sensing, meteorology, and inter-planetary exploration.

Decades of Expertise and Innovation

Chandrayaan-3 Makers: With a remarkable 35-year journey within URSC/ISRO, M Sankaran’s expertise spans pivotal areas like solar arrays, power systems, and RF communication systems. His contributions have played a pivotal role in successful endeavors such as Chandrayaan missions, Mars Orbiter Mission, and Astrosat. Notably, his prowess in power generation systems for interplanetary missions has been instrumental.

A Vision for the Future

Chandrayaan-3 Makers: M Sankaran’s recent endeavors encapsulate a focus on miniaturization of avionics systems, indigenous development of electronics and power components, and micro/mini satellite bus innovation. His leadership extends to the avionics system design, realization, and qualification for the ambitious Gaganyaan Programme.

A master’s degree in Physics from Bharathidasan University paved the way for his illustrious journey at ISRO Satellite Centre (now URSC). Notably, he has been awarded ISRO’s Performance Excellence Award in 2017 and Team Excellence awards in 2017 and 2018 for his exceptional contributions.

M Sankaran’s journey exemplifies a commitment to advancing India’s prowess in space technology, shaping the present and future of satellite innovation.

Visionary Propulsion Specialist:

Chandrayaan-3 Makers: A true maestro in the realm of liquid propulsion engines, this specialist’s leadership has steered the Vikram lander towards a delicate, precise landing. Armed with a specialization in cryogenic engines and an alma mater like IIT Kharagpur, his influence reverberates across various ISRO rockets. Notably, the Launch Vehicle Mark 3, which carried Chandrayaan-3, bears his personal stamp.

Orchestrating the Lunar Ballet

Chandrayaan-3 Makers:At the heart of Chandrayaan-3’s intricate maneuvers lies collective teamwork. India’s colossal 32-meter diameter dish antenna, a technological marvel near Bengaluru, directs the Vikram lander with precision. The nail-biting “twenty minutes of terror” shall unfold within the saucer-shaped ISTRAC building, as the final moments of Chandrayaan-3’s journey transpire.

Embarking on its lunar odyssey, Chandrayaan-3 stands as a testament to brilliance, dedication, and collaborative spirit. It’s these visionaries who are propelling India’s space exploration to new, inspiring heights.

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