She breaks the glass ceiling…; Here is the story of India’s Missile woman Dr. Tessy Thomas

There were many proud moments for Indians in the field of science, astronomy, energy, etc. India has a  Missile Woman. Under her leadership, India could develop the technology for intercontinental missiles with a range of up to 5,000 km.

 Tessy Thomas is an Indian scientist and Director General of Aeronautical Systems and the former Project Director for Agni-IV missile in Defence Research and Development Organization.  She is the first-ever woman scientist to head a missile project in India.

Tessy’s first introduction to the amazing world of missiles came in her childhood. She always dreamt of becoming a scientist and her passion for scientific research grew with time.

After completing her graduation from Thrissur college, she decided to pursue research in the field of missile technology.

Tessy followed this up with an MBA in Operations Management and a Ph.D. in Missile Guidance before joining DRDO in 1988. Here, she worked under her revered role model, APJ Abdul Kalam, who placed her in the Agni missile program. And there has been no looking back for her ever since.

Dr. Tessy Thomas Joined IAT, Pune as a faculty member in Guided Missiles in the year 1986. She joined DRDL, Hyderabad in 1988. She was associated with Agni Programme right from its developmental flights. She has designed the guidance scheme for long-range missile systems which is used in all Agni missiles. An energy management guidance scheme was designed and developed for the first time in the country for an all–solid propelled long-range system for which she was conferred with the Agni self-reliance award in the year 2001.

Dr. Tessy Thomas is the recipient of many prestigious awards including the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award for Excellence in Public Administration Academics and Management-2012.

Tessi’s journey to Agni-V’s thundering success was not an easy one. She faced failures and disappointments but she took it as an opportunity to rethink, rework and improve the current model.

For instance, in July 2006, a missile failed to meet desired parameters and the team had to face a lot of criticism. But the stern and strong woman took it as a challenge, working 12 to 16 hours a day, even on weekends. Unsurprisingly, within just ten months, the faults were efficiently ironed out to turn the failure into another success.

Dr. Tessy Thomas is from the Alappuzha district of Kerala. She completed her studies in engineering in Kerala.

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