Faces of Chandrayaan-3: Meet India’s Moon Mission Heroes

It’s been a month and a half of sheer anticipation and excitement ever since Chandrayaan-3 blasted off from India’s Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.

August 23, 2023, the spacecraft is on the cusp of making history by landing on the Moon’s southern pole. With all the orbit and deboosting maneuvers successfully completed, the craft is now pinpointing the ideal location for a soft landing.

While everyone’s abuzz about the mission itself, it’s high time we turn the spotlight on the remarkable individuals who’ve made this historic event possible. So, let’s meet some of the unsung heroes behind India’s pride, Chandrayaan-3.

S Somanath, ISRO Chairman

Leading the pack is S Somanath, who took the helm at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) just last year. His leadership has not only been pivotal for Chandrayaan-3 but has also expedited other significant missions like Gaganyaan—India’s first crewed mission to space—and Aditya-L1, the mission designed to study the sun.

Before stepping up as ISRO’s Chairman, Somanath had his hands full as the Director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) and the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre. Both of these centers are critical for developing the rocket technologies that make ISRO’s missions possible.

The countdown to the Chandrayaan-3 landing has begun, and the tension is palpable. But it’s comforting to know that experts like Somanath and his dedicated team are at the controls. Their tireless efforts and expertise are propelling India into a new era of space exploration, making it a moment of national pride for everyone.

So as we eagerly await the landing of Chandrayaan-3, let’s take a moment to appreciate the incredible individuals working behind the scenes. Their dedication and hard work are truly the driving forces that make such monumental achievements possible. Stay tuned for more updates on this groundbreaking mission!

P Veeramuthuvel, Project Director of Chandrayaan-3

As we all eagerly await the historic landing of Chandrayaan-3 on the Moon’s southern pole, let’s not forget the masterminds behind the mission. One such standout figure is P Veeramuthuvel, the Project Director of Chandrayaan-3, who took the reins in 2019.

You might recognize Veeramuthuvel’s name from his important role in the Chandrayaan-2 mission. Hailing from Villupuram in Tamil Nadu, he’s not just any engineer but an esteemed alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras (IIT-M). His technical acumen has been a cornerstone of the Chandrayaan-3 moon mission, and he’s been pouring his heart and soul into it for the past four years.

Given his history and the meticulous work he’s been involved in, it’s clear that Veeramuthuvel is a powerhouse of technical knowledge. His skills and dedication are part of what’s driving India to the forefront of space exploration.

So, as the clock ticks down to Chandrayaan-3’s anticipated landing, let’s give a tip of the hat to Veeramuthuvel and the rest of the brilliant minds working tirelessly behind the scenes. They’re the ones making India’s giant leap into the future of space exploration a reality. Keep an eye out for more updates on this groundbreaking mission!

S Unnikrishnan Nair, Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre

While the world waits with bated breath for Chandrayaan-3’s monumental moon landing, let’s shine a light on another key player in this epic space saga—Dr. S Unnikrishnan Nair. He’s the guy who, along with his stellar team at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), makes sure the spacecraft actually gets where it’s supposed to go.

Under Dr. Unnikrishnan’s leadership, the VSSC team has developed the rocket that’s powering this mission. Officially known as the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mark-III, it’s now got a catchier name—Launch Vehicle Mark-III.

Dr. Unnikrishnan is not just a brilliant aerospace engineer; he’s also a proud alumnus of the Indian Institute of Science. But his talents don’t stop at the stratosphere. When he’s not busy making rockets, believe it or not, he enjoys penning down short stories. That’s right, the man who helps write India’s future in space also knows a thing or two about crafting narratives!

So, whether it’s propelling India into the new frontiers of space or the compelling world of short stories, Dr. Unnikrishnan is a master of both. As we edge closer to Chandrayaan-3’s groundbreaking landing, let’s take a moment to appreciate the multifaceted individuals like Dr. Unnikrishnan who are turning this dream mission into reality. Stay tuned for more updates and, who knows, maybe even a short story or two from the man himself!

M Sankaran, Director of U R Rao Satellite Centre

As the countdown to Chandrayaan-3’s historic moon landing continues, let’s not forget the architects of India’s sky-high aspirations. One such person is M Sankaran, the director of the U R Rao Satellite Centre (URSC), who took the helm in June 2021.

Under Sankaran’s watchful eye, the URSC team has been busy designing and building the satellites that form the backbone of ISRO’s various missions. Whether it’s for communication, weather forecasting, remote sensing, navigation, or even planetary exploration, Sankaran and his team ensure that ISRO’s satellite needs are more than met.

To put it simply, M Sankaran is essentially the ‘go-to guy’ for anything satellite-related at ISRO. His leadership has been pivotal in ensuring that URSC’s satellites not only meet but exceed the diverse requirements of ISRO’s myriad projects.

So, as the world turns its eyes to the moon, awaiting Chandrayaan-3’s momentous landing, let’s give a nod to the folks like Sankaran who make it all possible. They’re the ones pushing the envelope in satellite technology, ensuring that India’s presence in space is felt more strongly with each passing day.

Stay with us for more updates on India’s exciting journey into space, made possible by the likes of M Sankaran and his dedicated team at URSC!

Mohana Kumar, Mission Director

As the Chandrayaan-3 mission moves closer to its epic lunar landing, let’s get to know another key player making it all happen—S Mohanna Kumar, the Mission Director for LVM3-M4/Chandrayaan-3 and a senior scientist at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC).

If the name sounds familiar, it’s because Mohanna was the director for the commercial launch of the One Web India 2 satellites on the LVM3-M3 mission. Clearly, the guy knows a thing or two about getting things off the ground!

Mohanna recently spoke about the success of the LVM3-M4, stating, “The LVM3-M4 has once again proved to be the most reliable heavy-lift vehicle for ISRO. Congratulations to the teamwork of the ISRO family.” That’s not just a pat on the back for his team but also a testament to the reliability and robustness of the launch vehicles they’re working on.

But don’t think Mohanna’s team is resting on their laurels. Oh no, they’re already brainstorming ways to make the LVM even safer and more reliable, with the aim of ramping up the frequency of launches. It sounds like they’re gearing up for an even busier future in space exploration.

So as we await Chandrayaan-3’s momentous landing, let’s give a virtual high-five to S Mohanna Kumar and his team. They’re not just launching rockets; they’re launching India’s aspirations sky-high.

Keep an eye on this space for more updates on the brilliant minds powering India’s ambitious space programs!

A Rajarajan, Chief of Launch Authorisation Board

If you’ve been following the buzz around India’s Chandrayaan-3 mission, you may have heard of A Rajarajan, the director of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR (SDSC SHAR) located in Sriharikota—India’s primary spaceport.

It’s not just a cushy title; Rajarajan has a boatload of responsibilities. He’s the man behind the successful solid motor production and the necessary infrastructure for launch complexes, which are critical not just for ISRO’s regular missions but also for special ones like the Human Space Programme (Gaganyaan) and the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV).

After Chandrayaan-3’s successful launch, a jubilant Rajarajan had this to say: “Once again the ‘fat boy’ has done its job and put Chandrayaan-3 precisely in orbit. I congratulate all teams for the perfect launch.” If you’re wondering, “fat boy” is an affectionate term for the launch vehicle, and Rajarajan’s words are a testament to the hard work put in by everyone involved.

But let’s not forget, Rajarajan is just one of the many heroes in this grand space saga. The Chandrayaan-3 mission’s success is the fruit of the labor of countless ISRO scientists, engineers, and technicians who are working tirelessly behind the scenes. They may be unsung heroes, but their contributions are helping India make its mark, quite literally, on the moon’s surface.

So here’s a shout-out to A Rajarajan and all the other brilliant minds who’ve made India proud through their contributions to the Chandrayaan-3 mission. Let’s remember, as we look forward to a successful moon landing, that this isn’t just the work of a few—it’s the achievement of a nation.

Keep your eyes peeled for more updates on India’s journey to the moon and the people making it happen!


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