S Somanath assumes charge as new Chairman of ISRO and Secretary of Department of Space

S Somnath (Left) has taken over as ISRO Chief from K Sivan (Right) on Friday
S Somnath (Left) has taken over as ISRO Chief from K Sivan (Right) on Friday

New Delhi: Eminent aerospace engineer and rocket scientist S Somanath has assumed charge as the Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Secretary of the Department of Space (DoS) on January 14. He has taken over the charge of the post from K Sivan, who was serving on the same role since January 2018.

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) had approved the appointment of Somanath to the post on January 12. According to an order issued by the Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT), S Somnath has been appointed to the post for a or a combined tenure of three years from the date of joining of the post, inclusive of an extension in tenure beyond the age of superannuation in the public interest, or until further orders whichever is earlier.

Somanath has assumed charge of the post after a stint of four years as the Director of 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, specializing in Structures, Dynamics, and Control with a Gold Medal. He joined VSSC in 1985 and was a team leader for the Integration of PSLV during the early phases.

Somanath 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 is the 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. He 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).

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

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