S Somanath has assumed charge as Secretary, Department of Space and Chairman, Space Commission, confirmed Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Friday. Somanath replaces Kailasavadivoo Sivan, whose tenure ended on January 14, 2022, as the new ISRO Chief.
Sivan had been appointed as the ISRO chief, Secretary of the Department of Space and Chairman Space Commission in January 2018. In December 2020 he was given a one-year extension till January 14, 2022.
Somanath appointment as the Space Secretary and the Space Commission Chairman is for a combined tenure of three years from the date of joining the post, inclusive of an extension in tenure beyond the age of superannuation in public interest, as per the Personnel Ministry order issued on Wednesday
Somanath assumed charge after a stint of four years as the Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananathapuram. He also served as the Director of Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC), Valiamala, for two and half years.
Somanath obtained B. Tech in Mechanical Engineering from TKM College of Engineering, Kollam, and Masters in Aerospace Engineering from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, specialising in Structures, Dynamics, and Control with a Gold Medal.
Somanath had joined VSSC in 1985 and was a team leader for the Integration of PSLV during the early phases.
ISRO, in an official statement, noted that Somanath is an expert in the area of system engineering of launch vehicles. "His contributions in PSLV and GSLV Mk-III were in their overall architecture, propulsion stages design, structural and structural dynamics designs, separation systems, vehicle integration, and integration procedures development," read the statement.
He is also a recipient of the 'Space Gold Medal' from the Astronautical Society of India. He received the 'Merit Award" and 'Performance Excellence award' from ISRO and a 'Team excellence award' for GSLV Mk-III development.
Somanath is a Fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE), a Fellow of the Aeronautical Society of India (AeSI), Astronautical Society of India (ASI), and a Corresponding Member of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA). He is in the bureau of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) and a recipient of the National Aeronautics Prize from the Aeronautical Society of India (ASI).
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