Again a Keralite takes up the position…All you need to know about the new ISRO chairman, S Somanath

Replacing the Indian space scientist K Sivan, S Somanath, the Indian aerospace engineer and rocket scientist will now helm ISRO. S Somanath has been appointed the new chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation.

The decision of appointing the new chairman has been taken recently and Sivan was given a year’s extension and his term is set to end on January 14. Somanath is the fourth Malayali to reach the top of the strategically important institute.

S Somanath

S Somanath is a mechanical engineer from the TKM College of Engineering in Kerala’s Kollam district. He owns a Master’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering from IISc, Bangalore with a specialization in Dynamics and Control.

Since January 2018, S Somanath has been the director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC). With his contributions, the space center could conduct the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) Project and he associated with it during its initial phase. 

S Somanath joined Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Indian Space Research Organisation in 1985 after his graduation. He was the Deputy Director of Propulsion and Space Ordinance Entity till November 2014. He is currently the Director of VSSC in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram.

Vehicle systems engineering, structural design, structural dynamics, integration designs and procedures, mechanism design, and pyrotechnics are the key areas of Somanath. 

According to a release by the Centre’s Ministry Personnel, Public Grievances, and Pensions, Somanath will now serve as the Secretary of Department of Space (DoS) and Chairman of the Space Commission for a tenure of three years.

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Somnath has won many accolades from the beginning, including a gold medal from Bengaluru’s IISc during his Master’s Programme and ‘Space Gold Medal’ from the Astronautical Society of India. In addition to this, he has also been awarded ISRO’s Performance Excellence award in 2009 and the Team excellence award for effective leadership of the GSLV Mk-III project.