Renowned scientist, S Somanath took charge as the Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala on January 22, 2018.
The space centre is Indian Space Research Organisation’s lead centre for launch vehicles. Somanath took up the significant role at a function held in ISRO headquarters in Bengaluru.
He would be succeeding K Sivan, who was recently appointed as ISRO Chairman.
About S Somanath
• He is currently the Director of Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre, which is the lead centre responsible for liquid engines and stages for all launch vehicles and satellite programs of ISRO.
• Till June, 2015, he was the Associate Director (Projects) of VSSC and also the Project Director of GSLV Mk-III launch vehicle.
• Under his leadership as the Project Director, the first Experimental flight of LVM3-X/CARE mission was successfully accomplished on Dec 18, 2014.
• Somanath joined ISRO in 1985 and was a team leader for Integration of PSLV during its early development phase and during the first flight of PSLV as well as the successful second flight PSLV-D2.
• As a Project Manager, he handled areas of mechanisms, pyro-technique systems and satellite launch service management.
• He conceived and executed the first time launches of commercial mini satellites and developed small satellite mounting and separation systems that have successfully deployed many commercial satellites.
• Overall, he has made significant contributions to the overall architecture, propulsion systems, structural dynamics, separation systems, vehicle integration and integration procedures development of PSLV and GSLV MK III.
In his new role, Somanath’s priorities will be on technology upgradation of launch vehicle design and to focus on two immediate launches -GSLV-Mark (MK) II and PSLV-C41, which are planned to be held in February 2018.
While GSAT -MKII (F09) would be carrying India’s communication satellite GSAT-6A, PSLV-C41 would be carrying the Indian remote sensing satellite, IRNSS-1.
These launches would be followed by the launch of GSLV-MKII (F10) in April 2019, which would carry Chandrayaan-II, India’s second mission to the Moon.
Following this, GSLV-MK III would be launched.