This Kerala ISRO official has spent three decades space-bound

S Geetha, the first woman programme director of space transportation systems at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thiruvananthapuram, will retire after 33 years of service on Tuesday.

Published: 31st May 2022 07:07 AM  |   Last Updated: 31st May 2022 04:11 PM   |  A+A-

S Geetha

S Geetha

Express News Service

KOCHI: S Geetha, the first woman programme director of space transportation systems at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thiruvananthapuram, will retire after 33 years of service on Tuesday. She was heading 64 engineers at the centre across seven teams.

Geetha is an alumnus of Vattiyoorkavu Government High School, Thiruvananthapuram, where she studied in the Malayalam medium. Back then, a young Geetha would have never thought she would be one of the best space scientists in the country years later. She vividly remembers coming to know about Valentina Tereshkova, the first and youngest woman to fly a solo mission to space on the Vostok 6 in 1963. Valentina was Geetha’s inspiration to pursue bachelors degree in electrical and electronics engineering from College of Engineering, Thiruvananthapuram (CET).

Geetha went on to study MTech in control systems and graduated with first rank from CET. Soon, she landed her dream job as an engineer with VSSC in 1989. But climbing the ladder at the space centre was not easy. Her first project, auto pilot designing of PSLV D1, failed due to a software error. It collapsed in the Bay of Bengal in 1993.

“The most challenging period in my career was when the GSLV projects failed consecutively. But after that, I went on to become the first woman associate project director of launch vehicle projects at VSSC,” recalls Geetha.

Geetha was also part of the team that launched 104 satellites belonging to several countries into orbit from Sriharikota in 2017. Despite her busy schedule, Geetha still found time to pursue her PhD in nonlinear control systems from the University of Kerala. Her husband, S R Vijayamohana Kumar, group director (technology transfer) retired from VSSC two years ago. The couples’ daughter, G Vineetha, is a masters student at the New York Film Academy, USA. 



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