Thiruvananthapuram: Scientist S. Somanath is all set to take over as the new Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), succeeding K. Sivan. Somanath, who is currently Director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in the Kerala state capital, will be the fourth Keralite to occupy the topmost post in the Indian space sector.
The previous Malayalees who have held the top post are K. Kasturirangan, G. Madhavan Nair, and K. Radhakrishnan.
Sivan was given a year's extension and his term is set to end very soon and Somnath's name was cleared for the top office way back in 2019 itself, by virtue of his seniority in the ISRO hierarchy.
Somanath completed his Pre Degree from the Maharaja's College, Ernakulam and did mechanical engineering from the TKM College of Engineering, Kollam, and in 1985, he joined the VSSC centre, Thiruvananthapuram and has had no reason to look back after that.
He later did his Master's degree in Aerospace Engineering from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore with a specialisation in Dynamics and Control.
At the ISRO, he has been associated with the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) project during its initial phase.
Later he became the Associate Director (Projects) of the VSSC and also the Project Director of the GSLV Mk-III launch vehicle in 2010. He was also the Deputy Director of Propulsion and Space Ordinance Entity till November 2014.
In June 2015, he took over as Director of the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) at Valiamala, Thiruvananthapuram, and served there until January 2018.
Somanath then took over as Director of VSSC from Sivan who became Chairman of the ISRO and now he is all set to succeed him in the top post too.