#Chandrayaan2: Meet the team behind India's ambitious second moon mission
With the successful launch of Chandrayaan-2, India's ambitious second moon mission, by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) on Monday, the country took a major leap toward outer space. The team behind Chandrayaan-2, led by women, comprises over 1,000 scientists who worked tirelessly over the past several years to make it a success. Here are some key members who powered the Chandrayaan-2 mission.
A little about India's second lunar mission
Chandrayaan-2 was launched from Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. If the ISRO's second lunar mission is successful, India will become only the fourth country to soft-land a rover on the Moon after Russia, the US, and China. Notably, Chandrayaan-2 is the country's first interplanetary mission to be led by women scientists: Project Director Muthayya Vanitha and Mission Director Ritu Karidhal.
Muthayya Vanitha has been working at ISRO for three decades
Chandrayaan-2 Project Director Vanitha has been working with ISRO for over three decades. As a Project Director, who contemplates design and technology for the satellite, Vanitha worked relentlessly for several years and played a major role in the project. Notably, she's the first female Project Director in ISRO. Also, she was the Deputy Project Director for data systems for Cartosat-1, Oceansat-2, and Megha-Tropiques satellites.
Ritu Karidhal, the Mission Director for Chandrayaan-2
Chandrayaan-2 Mission Director Karidhal has been working with ISRO for over 22 years. As the Mission Director, she's responsible for handling everything on the spacecraft once it is inserted into the orbit and navigating the rover toward the Moon. Karidhal, also known as "Rocket Woman" of India, worked for several ISRO projects and was the Deputy Operations Director of Mangalyaan, the country's Mars mission.
S Somanath, the Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Center
S Somanath, who joined ISRO in 1985, is currently the Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Center, Thiruvananthapuram, which provided the GSLV Mk-III launcher for the Chandrayaan-2 mission. Apart from playing a crucial role in the project, he also resolved the technical glitch in the cryogenic stage of the rocket due to which the Chandrayaan-2 launch was called off last week.
P Kunhikrishnan, Director of UR Rao Satellite Center of ISRO
P Kunhikrishnan is the Director of ISRO's UR Rao Satellite Center, which is responsible for the design, development, and construction of all the satellites. The 58-year-old is a rocket engineer-turned-satellite fabricator under whose watch the finishing touches were given to Chandrayaan-2. Kunhikrishnan, who joined ISRO in 1986, played a key role in various launch vehicle missions of the Indian space agency.
#5 and #6: About J Jayaprakash and Raghunatha Pillai
Among others who contributed to Chandrayaan-2 are ISRO's rocket specialists J Jayaprakash, the Mission Director for the launch, and Raghunatha Pillai, the Vehicle Director. They both played a crucial role in averting a disaster last week when the Chandrayaan-2 launch was halted.