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No Time to Celebrate, New ISRO Chairman K Sivan Already Working On 100th Launch

A graduate of aerospace engineering of the Madras Institute of Technology, Dr Sivan is known as the man who implemented ISRO ambitions of sending up multiple satellites at one go.

Deepa Balakrishnan | CNN-News18deepab18

Updated:January 11, 2018, 10:09 AM IST
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No Time to Celebrate, New ISRO Chairman K Sivan Already Working On 100th Launch
Dr K Sivan is the senior-most scientist in the ISRO hierarchy and has been with the space agency since 1982.

Bengaluru: The Indian Space Research Organization will get a new head likely next week, with the Central Government appointing Dr K Sivan as the next Chairman, now that the tenure of the incumbent Dr AS Kiran Kumar is set to end by January 14. Dr Sivan, who hails from a small village near Nagercoil in coastal Tamil Nadu, is currently the director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thiruvananthapuram.

He is the senior-most scientist in the ISRO hierarchy and has been with the space agency since 1982, initially working on the design of the PSLV rocket and later on other complex projects like the GSLV rocket, besides reusable launch vehicles and a world-class simulation facility for its missions.

A graduate of aerospace engineering of the Madras Institute of Technology, Dr Sivan is known as the man who implemented ISRO ambitions of sending up multiple satellites at one go. In fact, when News18 got in touch with Dr Sivan on Wednesday evening, he was in a review meeting for the next launch - the PSLV C-40 which will take 31 satellites with it, including five Indian ones. That would also be India's 100th satellite as Dr Annadurai – who himself is known as ISRO’s ‘moon man’ – puts is so eloquently, both incoming and outgoing chairmen are giving us a century.

“Any idea that comes in, he knows how to push it to the logical end within the prescribed timeline. That’s what his strength has been,” says Annadurai.

Dr Sivan himself was too overwhelmed by the appointment -- saying he “is still feeling all shaky” three hours after hearing the news.

He spoke exclusively to News18's Deepa Balakrishnan. Here are excerpts:

DB: Sir Congratulations on the appointment, could you tell us a bit about what this means to you?

KS: Right now, I'm in a meeting to prepare for the (PSLV) C40 launch. Only one thing I can say is, this post is handled (earlier) by legendary figures like Vikram Sarabhai, Satish Dhawan, Madhavan Nair, Dr Kasturi Rangan and UR Rao. So I feel like shaking (at the legacy of this and expectations). And also the present chairman has really put the system up in a big way, so I feel like it is a big responsibility of taking.

DB: What are your priorities?

KS: Right now, our head is filled with the launch of this rocket. Now we have to make it a success, this mission. Then I have to think. But lot of work is there, lot more activities are there...

DB: When did you hear about the appointment?

KS: Today, I got the message, when we were reviewing this mission. That's a strange coincidence (amid the work of the 100th satellite).

DB: You are the senior-most so it was only to be expected?

KS: I don't expect anything, I only concentrate on work. And it is suddenly some information that I got.

DB: What was your first reaction, did you speak to your family?

KS: My family called and told they saw this in the news around 5.30 pm. But my mind is still filled with the (monitoring of) the C40. We are right now very busy so (laughs) it has not gone to my head, first of all (that I will be Chairman).

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| Edited by: Tarun Bhardwaj
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