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ISRO gains a new Chairman and Secretary, VSSC rocket expert

Being the head of an organization means the presiding person need to have certain qualities and abilities to lead the institution ahead.

Rocket scientist K. Sivan, currently Director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, is to be the next Secretary of the Department of Space, and Chairman of the Space Commission and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), with a term of three years.

Dr. Sivan will shortly take over from A.S. Kiran Kumar as the ninth head of the country’s Space Establishment. Mr. Kumar ends his three-year term on January 14.

Mr. Kiran Kumar, Dr. Sivan, and the entire Space set-up are currently preoccupied with preparations for Friday’s PSLV launch.

Dr. Sivan told a national paper from the Sriharikota launch center, “Previous legendary leaders such as Vikram Sarabhai and Satish Dhawan have set high standards for the department. It is a big responsibility and honor for me to take it forward in their footsteps.”

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His name was approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet based on the recommendation of the SCSC, according to an order issued on Wednesday by the ACC Secretary under the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.

A graduate in aeronautical engineering from the Madras Institute of Technology, ME from the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, and a doctorate in aerospace engineering from IIT Bombay, Dr. Sivan became Director of VSSC in June 2015.

He joined ISRO in 1982 in the then young PSLV project and has been project director of the GSLV rocket. The PSLV-C37 launch carried innovative experiments such as using the IRNSS navigation system for predicting the orbit of the satellites.

He designed software called SITARA, which ISRO uses for simulating trajectories of rockets. He also led the RLV-TD project and was involved in its design qualification, aerodynamic characterization and hardware development.

 His appointment comes at a time when ISRO is planning to outsource construction activities of satellites and rockets for its future launches.


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