Notable rocket scientist S Somanath was appointed as the Chairman and Space Secretary of the Indian Space Research Organisation. He takes over ISRO at a critical point when sweeping reforms and critical missions will define the onward journey of ISRO.

Dr Somanath had been serving as the Director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) and the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST) before being appointed as the Chairman.

In the past, Dr Somanath played a crucial role in developing the PSLV and the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk-III (GSLV Mk-III). He joined the GSLV Mk-III project in 2003 and served as Project Director from 2010 to 2014.

He has also had a two-and-a-half-year stint as Director, Liquid Systems Propulsion Centre (LPSC), Valiamala, where he contributed to developing the indigenous cryogenic stages for the GSLV. Dr Somanath took over as the Director, VSSC, in January 2018.

The space scientist has taken charge of ISRO ahead of the Gaganyaan human spaceflight mission after COVID-19 wreaked havoc on ISRO’s schedules over the past two years.

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