16 January, 2021

Dr K. Kasturirangan, ISRO

“He had the wisdom and managerial skills to convince the government to invest in rockets,” says K. Raghavan, chief architect of ­satellite systems.

Photograph by Jitender Gupta
Dr K. Kasturirangan, ISRO
  • In February, ISRO launched 104 satellites on a single rocket


If online energies could be harnessed, they’d be ballistic eno­ugh to propel a million rockets. But it does speak of a new buzz: discussions on Quora and elsewhere on how large “our” non-terrestr­ial footprint is. At what the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) had managed at a fraction of NASA’s budget. It recently broke Russia’s world record by launching 104 satellites (103 of them nano satellites together weighing just 664 kg) on a single rocket, “shocking” even top Trump admin officials. There was also a trip to Mars “cheaper than an auto ride”. And the moon. Indians in a self-congratulatory orbit about all this would do well to remember the man behind India’s first successful satellite launch vehicle: Dr Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan, who headed ISRO for over nine years as chairman before retiring in 2003.      

It was a tenure littered with a...



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