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K Sivan: A humble farmer's son's journey to Isro chief

Isro chief, Vikram lander, Moon mission, Chandrayaan 2

The rocket expert hails from a very ordinary family and he is the first graduate in the family.


Published: Sat 7 Sep 2019, 11:30 AM

Last updated: Sat 7 Sep 2019, 2:07 PM

A humble son of a farmer who studied in local government schools in Tamil medium at Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu is now the rocket scientist who headed India's latest moon mission.
In a setback earlier today, contact was lost with the moon lander Vikram minutes before it was due to touch down near the lunar south pole. If the landing was executed successfully as planned, India would have become the fourth country - after the United States, Russia and China -- to soft land on the moon.
Spearheading this team is K Sivan, Chairman of Isro, who has been involved in everything: from designing of the Chandrayaan 2, was consoled by PM Modi, when he could not hold his tears and broke down.
Sivan is a native of Tarakkanvilai in Kanyakumari district. "Sivan hails from a very ordinary family. His father was a farmer. He is the first graduate in the family", his uncle A Shunmugavel said. Recalling Sivans student days, Shunmugavel told PTI that the rocket expert was "self-made, studious and hard working. He never went to any tuition or coaching classes."
He studied in government schools in Tarakkanvilai his native village and at neighbouring Valangumaravilai in Tamil medium.
Later, he graduated from ST Hindu College in Nagercoil, he said.
Sivan graduated from Madras Institute of Technology in aeronautical engineering in 1980 and completed Master of Engineering in Aerospace engineering from IISc, Bangalore in 1982.
Subsequently, he completed his PhD in Aerospace engineering from IIT, Bombay in 2006. He joined ISRO in 1982 in Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) project and contributed immensely towards end to end mission planning, mission design, mission integration and analysis.
He held various responsibilities during his stint in Isro. Sivan, who will succeed incumbent A S Kiran Kumar for a three-year term, has numerous publications in various journals and is a fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineering, Aeronautical Society of India and Systems Society of India.
He has received various awards throughout his career, including Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) from Sathyabama University, Chennai in April 2014 and Shri Hari Om Ashram Prerit Dr Vikram Sarabhai Research award for 1999.

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