India’s Second Moon Mission: Women And Men Who Made Chandrayaan-2 Possible
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientists successfully launched Chandrayaan-2 on Monday, July 22. Apart from the fact that Chandrayaan-2 carries powerful GSLV-MkIII-M1 launch vehicle, called Baabubali, and is India’s first lander mission to explore the unexplored south pole of the Moon, it is a first time that a project in ISRO is directed by a woman.
India’s second visit to the moon was made possible with an immense contribution from the first woman project director -Muthayya Vanitha and the mission director-Ritu Karidhal, who was also the Deputy Operations Director for the Mars mission. Additionally, this is the country’s first interplanetary mission headed by women. And not just Ritu and Vanitha, but nearly 30 per cent of the team working on the Chandrayaan-2 mission are women, told ISRO Chairman K Sivan.
Along with all the new feats that India is going to add to its list, after Chandrayaan-2 successfully lands on the moon on September 7, there are several women, including man, who worked night and day to make the mission possible.
Women Who Played Key Roles
M Vanitha, who hails from Chennai, has spent 32 years at ISRO, is an electronics system engineer and was responsible for data handling systems for India’s remote sensing satellites.
Vanitha joined ISRO as a junior most engineer and worked in the lab, testing carts, making hardware, designing and developing, before she reached the managerial position.
Ritu Karidhal, known as ‘rocket woman’ of India, is the Mission Director and is responsible for the spacecraft’s outward autonomy system. Karidhal graduated in physics from Lucknow University and has a Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru.
With two decades of experience, Karidhal has received the Isro Team Award for MOM, Women Achievers in Aerospace, among other awards. Karidhal was also the Deputy Operations Director for the mission ‘Mangalyan’.
Men Behind The Scenes
P Kunhikrishnan, the 58-year-old rocket engineer-turned-satellite fabricator, has involved in giving final touches to Chandrayaan-2. Currently, Kunhikrishnan is the Director of the UR Rao Satellite Center of ISRO.
52-year-old Dr Anil Bharadwaj, was leading the charge on the scientific front for the Chandrayaan-2 and played a key role in making the mission possible. Bharadwaj is planetary scientist and director of the Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad.
Mission Director for the launch J Jayaprakash along with Raghunatha Pillai as Vehicle Director – played a key role in averting a disaster, last week, by pointing out a technical snag just an hour ahead of the launch.
Last but not the least, S Somanath, a mechanical engineer by training and Director of the Vikram Sarabahi Space Center in Thiruvananthapuram, resolved the glitch due to which the mission was aborted last week.