List of ISRO Chairman 2023: Name, Tenure and Other Important Facts

ISRO Chairman Name: In 1962, the Government of India set up an Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR). It was set up at Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) in Thiruvananthapuram for upper atmospheric research. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is the space agency of the Government of India headquartered in the city of Bangalore. It was formed in 1969, superseding the erstwhile INCOSPAR.     

Sep 2, 2023, 12:08 IST

List of ISRO Chairman:  ISRO is all set to make another groundbreaking achievement with Aditya L-1 mission under Chairman S Somnath. S Somanath (incumbent) was appointed as the tenth ISRO Chief on 12 January 2022 by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC). He succeeded K. Sivan who took charge in January 2018. The first chairman of the ISRO was Dr. Vikram Sarabhai. 

The head of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), also known as ISRO's Chairman, holds a statutory role within the space organization. He/she serves as both a secretary to the Government of India and an executive of the Department of Space (DOS), which operates under the direct purview of the Prime Minister of India. Since 1963, 10 men have been appointed as the Chairmen of ISRO.

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Here's the complete list of ISRO Chairpersons. 

       ISRO Chairman


   Length of Term

1.  Dr. Vikram Sarabhai

 From 1963 to 1971

 9 years

2. Prof. M. G. K. Menon

 From Jan 1972 to Sept 1972

 9 months

3. Prof. Satish Dhawan

 From 1972 to 1984

 12 years

4. Prof. U. R. Rao

 From 1984 to 1994

 10 years

5. Dr. K. Kasturirangan

 From 1994 to 2003

 9 years

6. G. Madhavan Nair

 From 2003 to 2009

 6 years

7. Dr. K. Radhakrishnan

 From 2009 to 2014

 5 years

  Dr. Shailesh Nayak (Interim)

From 2015 to 2015

11 days

8. A. S. Kiran Kumar

 From 2015 to 2018

 3 years

9. Dr K. Sivan

From Jan 2018 to Jan 2022

3 years

11. S Somanath

12 Jan 2022 


List of ISRO Chairmen: Important Points

  • The first satellite of India, Aryabhata was launched in 1975.
  • The first lunar mission from India known as Chandrayaan-1 was announced by former Prime Minister, the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee on August 15, 2003. The rocket took its flight in 2008. 
  • ISRO has had 11 chairmen since its inception. The first chairman of ISRO was Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, who is considered the father of the Indian space program.

  • The current chairman of ISRO is S. Somanath. He is also one of the brains behind India's vision to land on the moon and took charge of the Chandrayaan 3 mission. 
  • Dr. Shailesh Nayak was earlier associated with studies related to oceanography and remote sensing. He served as the interim chief of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for a brief period of 11 days.
  • Under S. Somanath's leadership, ISRO launched Chandrayaan-3, which will become the first Indian spacecraft to land on the Moon and the first in the world to do so on the South Pole of the lunar surface.
  • List of ISRO Chairmen: Important Facts 

    1. Dr. Vikram Sarabhai (1963 to 1972) is considered the Father of the Indian space program. Vikram Sarabhai established these institutions:
    I. Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad.
    II. Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad
    III. Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram
    IV. Faster Breeder Test Reactor (FBTR), Kalpakkam

    2. Prof. M. G. K. Menon (Jan-Sep 1972 )
    He was known for his work on cosmic rays and particle physics, particularly on the high-energy inter-actions of elementary particles.

    3. Prof. Satish Dhawan (1972-1984)
    I. He succeeded Vikram Sarabhai, the founder of the Indian space programme, as Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in 1972.
    II. His efforts led to operational systems like INSAT and PSLV in India.

    4. Prof. Udupi Ramachandra Rao (1984-1994)
    I. Dr. Rao undertook the responsibility for the establishment of satellite technology in India in 1972.
    II. He was in the lead role in designing the first Indian satellite 'Aryabhata' in 1975.

    5. Dr. Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan (1994-2003)
    I. Under his leadership, as Chairman, ISRO, the space programme has witnessed several major milestones in the name of PSLV and GSLV.
    II. He was also the Project Director for India's first two experimental earth observation satellites, BHASKARA-I & II.

    6. Shri G.Madhavan Nair (2003-2009)
    I. Chandrayaan-1 was India's first lunar probe. It was launched under the chairmanship of Shri G.Madhavan Nair.
    II. During his tenure of six years as Chairman, ISRO/Secretary, 25 successful missions were accomplished by ISRO.

    7. Dr. K. Radhakrishnan (2009-2014)
    I. India's first interplanetary mission Mangalyaan was launched under the chairmanship of Mr.K. Radhakrishnan.

    8. Shri A S Kiran Kumar (2015 to 2018)
    I. He has done a commendable job in the launch of Chandrayaan-1 and Mars Orbiter Mission of India.
    II. Indian National Regional Navigation System (IRNSS) and GAGAN have been developed under his supervision.

    9. Dr. K. Sivan (2018 to 2022)
    I. He has significantly contributed towards end-to-end mission planning, design, integration and analysis.
    His tenure has been marked with the launch of Chandrayaan-2 and the acceleration of India's manned space program.

    III. Unfortunately, the highly anticipated Chandryaan-2 lost communications hours before it was to land on the Moon and ultimately crashed. 

    10.  S Somanath (appointed in Jan 2022)

    I. S Somanath has been appointed as the tenth ISRO Chief on 12 January 2022 by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC). 

    II. Under his purview, ISRO has launched Chandrayaan-3 landed on the Moon on August 23, 2023. Now, India is the fourth nation in the world to have made landfall on the lunar surface. 

    In the conclusion, it can be said that the ISRO is doing a very commendable job in the areas of space and astronomy. The contribution given by all the chairmen of ISRO is very appreciable, especially Dr. Vikram Sarabhai.

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