From Lucknow to the moon: How Ritu Karidhal took on the Chandrayaan-2 challenge

A doting mother, a loving sister, an ace student - India's rocket woman Ritu Karidhal Srivastava, mission director, Chandrayaan-2, is all this and much more....

Published: 13th July 2019 08:21 PM  |   Last Updated: 15th July 2019 02:11 PM   |  A+A-

Chandrayaan, Ritu Karidhal , Moon Mission

Ritu Karidhal. (Youtube screengrab)

Express News Service

LUCKNOW: Lucknow is getting ready for its own moment of glory on July 15 when the historic Chandrayaan-2 moon mission will be launched under the supervision of India’s rocket woman, Ritu Karidhal Srivastava, who has her roots in the city of Nawabs.

Ritu was actively associated with the Mars mission as deputy operations director. Now, as mission director, she is supervising the ambitious Chandrayaan-2 which is scheduled to be launched at 2:51 am on Monday.

Born and brought up in a middle-class family based in Lucknow, Ritu completed her schooling from Navyug Girls College and joined Lucknow University for higher education prior to cracking the prestigious GATE, moving to the Indian Institute of Sciences, Bengaluru and joining the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) never to look back.

Ritu’s journey from Lucknow University to ISRO has been rather smooth and hassle-free, thanks to her diligence and brilliance.

After completing her graduation and post graduation from Lucknow University in 1997, she enrolled for a doctorate in physics at the same university. Later, she got the opportunity to teach as a research scholar in the same department.

"Of course, I take pride in her accomplishments. Ritu had registered for PhD under me," says Prof Manish Gupta who had taught Ritu in MSc in 1997.

A brilliant student with an impeccable academic record, Ritu was just six months into her PhD when she cracked the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) and proceeded to IISc, Bengaluru, to do her masters in aerospace engineering.

"She always used to impress me with her dedication, simplicity and hard work. She was a very simple, sincere and intelligent girl. She never showed off about her achievements. She was one of my most knowledgeable students who has now become an inspiration for the youth," adds Prof Gupta.

Taking pride in her achievements, head, Department of Physics, in LU, Prof Poonam Tandon beams and says her students have won the skies and even gone beyond it.

After the demise of her parents, Ritu took care of her two younger siblings - sister Varsha and brother Rohit - back in Lucknow while looking after her daughter Anisha and son Aditya along with husband Avinash, striking a perfect balance between her professional and personal life.

“Didi is extremely traditional in her personal life and equally professional while handling her space missions,” say the siblings.


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