Meet The Brilliant Minds Behind Chandrayaan 2’s Journey To The Moon’s South Pole

Chandrayaan 2 is India’s most historic space mission for more reasons than one. Completely homegrown on a budget of INR 978 crore, it is extremely cost-effective compared to other lunar missions. Furthermore, Bangalore Mirror reports that 30% of the 16,500 people involved in the mission are women. Here’s looking at the brilliant minds that worked hard for almost 17-18 hours per day and made everyone proud.

Project Director: M.Vanitha (First woman project director at ISRO)

Image Source

The Hindu reports that she is an ace data specialist hailing from the U.R. Rao Satellite Centre. Before taking charge of this mission, the veteran with 20+ years of experience was part of Cartosat-1, Oceansat-2 and Megha-Tropiques teams. She is also the recipient of ‘Best Woman Scientist’ in 2006 by the Astronomical Society of India.

Mission Director: “Rocket Woman of India” Ritu Karidhal

Image Source

Did you know, Ritu was formerly Deputy Director Operations for the Mars Orbiter Mission (Mangalyaan) in 2013? An alumnus of the Indian Institute of Sceince with a Masters in Aerospace Engineering, she has also received the ‘ISRO Young Scientist Award’ from A.P.J Abdul Kalam in 2007.

Indian Space Research Organisation Chairman: “Rocket Man” K. Sivan

Image Source

A recipient of the ‘Dr. Biren Roy Space Science and/or Design Award’ in 2011, Mr. Sivan is best known for his efforts in developing cryogenic engines. According to India Today, he was also instrumental in coming up with the ‘day-of launch wind biasing strategy’ used to launch rockets despite unfavourable weather conditions.

Director of the U R Rao Satellite Center in Bengaluru: M. Annadurai

Image Source

Mr. Annadurai spearheaded Chandrayaan-1 and was also the first project director of Chandrayaan 2. He later convinced M. Vanitha to take charge of the mission upon his retirement because of her capabilities as a systems engineer.

According to NDTV, the core team also included: Deputy Project Directors C. Kumar and Amitabh Singh, Mechanical Engineer Dr. S. Somanath, Dr. V. Narayanan, the Head of the Cryogenic Engine Facility, Mission Director J. Jayaprakash and Vehicle Director Raghunatha Pillai.

Congratulations, ISRO, for a successful moon mission. And thank you, for being an inspiration for us all.