Senior scientist S Somnath appointed as ISRO chairman

New Delhi: Senior rocket scientist S Somnath has been appointed as the next chairperson of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the space secretary.

He will become the next Secretary of the Department of Space and the Chairman of the Space Commission for a combined tenure of three years from the date of joining of the post.

Reportedly, 58-year-old Somnath is currently the director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram. He will take over from Kailasavadivoo Sivan, who is set to retire on Friday.

Somanth will become the 10th chairperson of the Indian space agency. He has previously held the position of team leader for the Integration of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).

He also led the team of LPSC (ISRO’s Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre) to complete the development and qualification of the CE20 cryogenic engine and the C25 stage, which was successfully flown in GSLV MkIII-D1 flight. Under his watch, 15 successful satellite missions were accomplished with the propulsion systems supplied from LPSC.

The development of throttleable engines for lander craft of Chanradrayaan-2 and the first-time successful flight of an electric propulsion system in GSAT-9 were some of the achievements.

Somanth is a graduate in mechanical engineering from Kerala University, and completed his post graduation in aerospace engineering from the Indian Institute of Science (IISC) in Bengaluru.

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