Meet Villupuram's P Veeramuthuvel, the Tamil scientist behind India's Chandrayaan-3 mission

“The litmus test for us would be to soft land on the surface of the moon. Even all the manoeuvres that will be undertaken in next 40 days will be also equally critical.”
ISRO’s launch vehicle Mark-III (LVM3) M4 rocket carrying ‘Chandrayaan-3.’ (Photo | Express)
ISRO’s launch vehicle Mark-III (LVM3) M4 rocket carrying ‘Chandrayaan-3.’ (Photo | Express)

SRIHARIKOTA/VILLUPURAM:  Every Chandrayaan mission that ISRO has undertaken so far has a TN connection, and Chandrayaan-3 also is no exception, as it is helmed by a scientist P Veeramuthuvel, who hails from a humble family in Villupuram.

On Friday, after the successful launch of the LVM3 rocket carrying Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft, the unassuming Veeramuthuvel said as a project director he is very proud, and at the same time, it’s only job half done. “The litmus test for us would be to soft land on the surface of the moon. Even all the manoeuvres that will be undertaken in next 40 days will be also equally critical.”

On being a Tamilian, he said this mission is the pride of the nation, not just for Tamil Nadu. “There are at least 500 people working on the project hailing from different parts of the country. Success should be credited to all of them.”

The achievement marks a significant milestone in Veeramuthuvel’s career, who had nurtured the dream of becoming a scientist at ISRO since his childhood, according to his father P Palanivel, who served as technician in southern railways for over 30 years before retiring. 

The family currently resides in the railway quarters in Villupuram. Palanivel said, “Despite receiving several other opportunities and job offers from central government departments, Veeramuthuvel declined all of them. Finally, in 2014, his dream came true when he joined ISRO as a scientist. We are immensely proud of him to have led the historic Chandrayaan 3 mission.”

Veeramuthuvel had completed his school at the railway school in Villupuram and pursued a diploma in mechanical engineering from a private polytechnic college, according to sources.  For his undergraduate studies, Veeramuthuvel enrolled in a private college in Chennai and subsequently pursued post graduation at another esteemed engineering college, according to his father. The Chandrayaan-3 projector director had received his doctoral degree from IIT, Madras.

Indo-Japan lunar project faces challenges  

Giving an update on the India and Japan Lunar Polar Exploration (LUPEX), ISRO Chairman S Somanath said the organisation was yet to submit the project report to the Union government as the architecture design was not finalised.  “There are several challenges. The rover, which Japan was supposed to supply, weighs higher than our carrying capacity of our lander. Because of this, the engines that were used in Chandrayaan-3 can’t be used for LUPEX mission. We have to developed new ones. We are trying to negotiate with them on how to bring down the mass of the rover,” he said. The Indo-Japanese LUPEX mission is envisaged to explore the permanently shadowed regions or the dark side of the moon. Earlier this year, a team from Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) were in India, meeting ISRO scientists. ENS

Related Stories

No stories found.
The New Indian Express
www.newindianexpress.com