S Somanath (File photo) | Photo: Mathrubhumi
New Delhi: Malayali scientist S Somanath has been appointed as the chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation and secretary to the department of science. He was serving as the Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram.
Alappuzha Thuravoor native Somanath will replace K Sivan as his term ends on January 14. Sivan was given a year's extension. 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 Ernakulam Maharajas College, UG degree in mechanical engineering from TKM College of Engineering, Kollam, and master's in aerospace engineering from the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru.
Joining ISRO in 1985, he has contributed immensely to the design of the launch vehicles. Somanath was instrumental in developing the GSLV Mk-III launcher. He is also credited for making enormous contributions to develop PSLV in the early days of his career.
Kerala scientists K Kasturirangan, G Madhavan Nair and Dr K Radhakrishnan headed the space institute from 1993 to 2014. Somanath is the fourth Malayali to reach the top of the strategically important institute.