S Somanath Appointed as ISRO Chairman

ISRO Chairman S. Somanath
ISRO Chairman S. Somanath

Bengaluru: S. Somanath will succeed Dr. K. Sivan as the new Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and also the Space Secretary, an order from the Personnel Ministry said on Wednesday evening (January 12). He will be the 10th Chairman of ISRO.

Somanath, an eminent rocket scientist, is currently the Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC). He is the fifth ISRO Chairman from Kerala, after MGK Menon, K. Kasturirangan, G. Madhavan Nair and K. Radhakrishan. Somanath hails from Thuravoor, Alappuzha.

Also read: ISRO’s launch plans for 2022-23

Dr. Sivan’s tenure at the Bengaluru-headquartered space organisation will end on January 14, 2022. In December 2020, he was given one-year extension. Dr. Sivan took charge of ISRO in January 2018.

Somanath will have 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, or until further orders whichever is earlier, according to the government’s order.

Union Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh congratulated Somanath and said “you are destined to perform an eventful innings”.

“Congratulations Dr S Somanath for being appointed as the new Chairman #ISRO & Secretary Department of Space. With historic Space missions, including India’s first manned mission #Gaganyaan, in the pipeline, you are destined to perform an eventful innings. (sic),” the minister wrote on his Twitter account on Thursday (January 13).

Here is all you need to know about Somanath.

Somanath pursued his B. Tech in Mechanical Engineering from TKM College of Engineering, Kollam, and Masters in Aerospace Engineering from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore with specialisation in Structures, Dynamics and Control with a Gold Medal.

He took charge as Director, VSSC on 22 January 2018 after a two and a half year’s stint as the Director of Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC), Valiamala, Thiruvananathapuram, VSSC said.

Previously, he served as the Associate Director (Projects) of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre and also as Project Director of GSLV Mk-III Launch vehicle.

Under his leadership, the first Experimental flight of LVM3-X/CARE mission was successfully accomplished on 18 December 2014.

He joined VSSC in 1985 and was a team leader for the Integration of PSLV during the early phases. As Project Manager, PSLV, he handled areas of mechanisms, pyro systems, integration and satellite launch service management.

He joined GSLV MkIII Project in 2003 and was the Deputy Project Director responsible for overall design of the vehicle, mission design, structural design, and integration.

He was the Project Director of GSLV Mk-III from June 2010 to 2014.

He is an expert in the area of system engineering of Launch vehicles. His contributions in PSLV and GSLV MkIII were in their overall architecture, propulsion stages design, structural and structural dynamics designs, separation systems, vehicle integration, and integration procedures development.

He has been the Deputy Director of the ‘Structures’ Entity in VSSC and also the Deputy Director of ‘Propulsion and Space Ordinance Entity’ in VSSC till November 2014.

Since July 2015, he led the team of LPSC to complete the development and qualification of CE20 cryogenic engine and the C25 stage and was successfully flown in GSLV MkIII-D1 flight.

He also played a key role in three successful missions of GSLV with indigenous cryogenic stages and eleven successful missions of PSLV with the liquid stages realized by LPSC. Fifteen successful satellite missions were also accomplished with the propulsion systems supplied from LPSC.

He is the recipient of the ‘Space Gold Medal’ from 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.

He is a Fellow of Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE), Fellow of Aeronautical Society of India (AeSI), Astronautical Society of India (ASI), and a Corresponding member of International Academy of Astronautics (IAA).

Somanath has widely travelled as delegate and representative of India in UN-COPOUS at Vienna, International Astronautical Federation (IAF)’s International Program Committee at Paris, International Astronautical Congress (IAC) at Hyderabad, Prague, Jerusalem, Mexico and Adelaide. He is a member of the technical committee for Space Transportation and also the International Project/Program Management Committee of IAF.

He has published papers in journals and seminars in the area of structural dynamics and control, dynamic analysis of separation mechanisms, vibration and acoustic testing, launch vehicle design and launch services management.

Current Issue



Social Media Updates


Embraer and Brazilian Air Force Begin Studies for Special Mission Platforms

 Embraer and the Brazilian Air Force announced the beginning of...

Embraer and ENAER Announce Cooperation Agreement

Embraer and ENAER (National Aeronautical Company of Chile)  announced two...

Liebherr Enters Air Cargo Market

Liebherr-Aerospace Saline and LHColus announce the signature of a Sole...

Mikael Adelsberg appointed Chief Digital Officer, Saab

Saab has appointed Mikael Adelsberg as Chief Digital Officer and...

ROSOBORONEXPORT Offers Assistance to the Partners in Equipping Airborne Forces

JSC ROSOBORONEXPORT (part of Rostec State Corporation) offers the foreign...