It’s a big responsibility: Sivan

It’s practically a jam-packed calendar that awaits K Sivan who was named chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Wednesday.

Published: 11th January 2018 01:03 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th January 2018 07:11 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It’s practically a jam-packed calendar that awaits K Sivan who was named chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Wednesday.

Sivan, who has joined ISRO top brass at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, for Friday’s PSLV C-40 launch, will helm some big missions in 2018, including the Chandrayaan II moon project if things pan out as planned.

‘’Right now, the PSLV C-40 mission has all my - all our - attention,’’ Sivan, who will be assuming charge only next week, told Express from Sriharikota. (The previous PSLV mission last August, designated C-39, had left the space agency jittery when it failed, an almost unthinkable eventuality for a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, the trusted workhorse of ISRO.)

Chandrayaan II is slated for the second quarter of 2018, but before that comes a GSLV Mk-II mission carrying the GSAT 6-A satellite - in February - which will be followed by a flight of the GSLV Mk-III, India’s heftiest rocket to date fitted with a functional cryogenic engine.

‘’It’s a big responsibility,’’ Sivan, who was serving as director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thumba, since June 2015, said of his new assignment. ‘’Former chairmen such as G Madhavan Nair, K Radhakrishnan and the outgoing chairman A S Kiran Kumar took ISRO to new heights. It’s a big challenge to take on from there,’’ he said. Sivan is also taking over as chairman when ISRO is treading new ground.

Private participation in India’s space programme is on the way up and, reportedly, the space agency has chalked out a blueprint in this regard.

The development of the semi-cryogenic engine which uses refined kerosene as fuel, the reusable launch vehicle - India’s own space shuttle - and the ambitious Aditya mission to study the sun are only a few on the new chairman’s calendar.

Not to mention the second mission to Mars and, possibly, the dream Indian Venusian orbiter mission to the second planet from the sun.

From VSSC to ISRO’s top post

TPuram: In the normal course of things, it is the VSSC director who gets chosen as the head of ISRO, VSSC being the lead centre of the space agency. That has been true in the case of all recent chairmen, including G Madhavan Nair and K Radhakrishnan. A S Kiran Kumar, the outgoing chairman, was an exception, though. He had been heading the Ahmedabad facility of ISRO while M C Dathan, who is now advisor to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, was director, VSSC.

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