Kolkata: When Madhusudhan Kumar, a farmer in Hoogly’s Shibpur Village had a son, the couple wanted to name him Suryakanta. However, that was not to be after a school teacher advised Kumar to name his Chandrakanta after the moon.
Divine intervention or a mere coincidence, no one can say, but ‘moon child’ Chandrakanta grew up to become a senior scientist of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and is now leading the Chandrayaan-2 mission, which is scheduled for lift-off Monday afternoon.
Even though the launch of the lunar mission was postponed, the family could not be more proud their son’s achievements.
Speaking to News18, Kumar said, “When the mission was aborted, we were sad. But we are prepared to witness India’s most challenging moon mission lift up. We are extremely proud and happy that our son is part of the team that will make this happen.”
Chandrakanta has designed the antenna systems for the Indian satellites and ground stations. He served as project manager, antenna systems, for Chandrayaan-1, GSAT-12 and ASTROSAT. At present, he is Deputy Project Director, responsible for the RF system of Chandrayaan-2, and heads the ‘Electromagnetics’ Section of UR Rao Satellite Centre (URSC).
“I never got the time to teach him as I was busy toiling in the fields,” Kumar said, adding that it was Chandrakanta’s teachers who groomed him well. “He has always been hardworking. He joined ISRO in 2001, and over the years it’s his hard work and dedication that has made him a key scientist in this prestigious mission.”
His mother, on the other hand, was at a loss of words and broke down in happiness. “My son called me in the morning and told me to watch Chandrayaan-2 mission on TV. I am very happy today and proud of my son. Despite all odds, he managed to overcome hurdles and became a scientist,” she said.
Chandrakanta’s younger brother Shashikant is also a scientist — named after the moon.
The countdown for India’s most ambitious space mission started at 6.43pm on Sunday and the launch of Chandrayaan-2 is scheduled at 2.43 PM on Monday. Earlier, the launch was scheduled on July 15 but ISRO aborted it due to technical snag in the launch vehicle.