Chandrayaan-1 mission director Srinivas Hedge passes away at 71

Hegde was reeling with health complications for several years, and on Thursday evening he suffered a cardiac arrest.
Chandrayaan-1 mission director Srinivas Hedge passes away at 71

BENGALURU: Former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientist and Mission Director for India’s first deep space mission–Chandrayaan-1, Srinivas Hedge (71) passed away on Friday noon, at a private hospital in the presence of his family and friends.

Chandrayaan-1, the space mission headed by Hegde played a crucial role in the discovery of water molecules on the Moon surface.

Hegde was reeling with health complications for several years, and on Thursday evening he suffered a cardiac arrest. He was on a ventilator until Friday afternoon in a hospital in Jayanagar, Bengaluru. 

He is remembered as jovial, helpful and a team player by many of his peers and juniors. Hedge had joined ISRO in 1978 and served the space agency for over 36 years before retiring in 2014. During his tenure, Hedge was part of many ISRO missions under the UR Rao Satellite Centre (URSC) formerly known as ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC).

With an undergraduate degree in B.Tech from the National Institute of Technology Karnataka (NITK), Surathkal, Hedge pursued his postgraduate from IISc in Bengaluru.

The scientist was skilled in the planning, analysis and operation section of the space agency. As the missions took off, Hedge, along with his team, focused on the determination of orbits and made sure the launched spacecrafts and satellites reached their designated orbits under the mission planning division.

Speaking to TNIE, M Annadurai, former ISRO scientist and URSC Director and Project Director for Chandrayaan-1 said, “As my senior and boss, I very fondly remember how he handheld me in my initial days at ISRO. I looked up to him, and over time, we became colleagues and remained close friends post our retirement too.” He added that Hedge was also part of the initial planning of the TeamIndus group that planned to create a low-cost spacecraft to land on the moon’s surface, but due to logistical reasons it never took off.

Recalling a personal incident, Annadurai mentioned how one day when he had collapsed in the gym while lifting weights, Hedge had rushed to the spot to help him. “He took me to his home and made sure I had the right care, and didn’t allow me to leave until my leg was better, such was his nature.”

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