‘Rocket Women’ Behind Chandrayaan 2


Hyderabad: As Chandrayaan 2 blasted off on Monday at 2.43 pm from Sriharikota putting India as the fourth country in the world to undertake such a mission, it is time to give credits where due. The team behind India’s inter-planetary mission, for the first time has been spearheaded by ace women scientists. These women broke the glass ceiling and have etched their names in this prestigious mission.

The project director behind Chandrayaan 2 is a woman, Muthayya Vanitha. Reluctant at first to take up the responsibillity, she was persuaded into taking up the role by M Annadurai — the project director of Chandrayaan 1, an Indiatimes report said. He was convinced that it was none other than Vanithaa who was capable of taking up the role.

M Vanitha, who has spent 32 years at ISRO, is the daughter of a civil engineer and an electronics and communications engineer from Chennai. Said to be an ace data specialist, she has earlier been a part of Cartosat-1, Oceansat-2 and Megha-Tropiques teams.

Muthayya Vanitha won the Best Woman Scientist Award of the Astronautical Society of India in 2006, and also played a key role in the launch and success of Mangalyaan in November 2013.

After the spacecraft takes off from Earth, the responsibility for Chandrayaan 2 will be entrusted to Ritu Karidhal.

Fondly regarded as “Rocket Woman” of India, she is now Mission Director for Chandrayaan 2.

She has worked closely with Muthayya Vanitha throughout the Chandrayaan 2 mission.

An aerospace engineer, has spent 22 years at ISRO. A graduate of Lucknow University and the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, she played a key role in navigating ISRO’s Mangalyaan spacecraft to Mars in 2013-14.

Not just these two spectacular women, but 30 per cent of the workforce at ISRO are women.

Meanwhile, K Sivan congratulating the team on the success said that there is no gender at ISRO . All will have equal share and they will take the load and they will be able to contribute also.

The team also had the presence of some brilliant men scientists. To name a few, P Kunhikrishnan, who gave finishing touches to Chandrayaan 2, Dr S Somanath who fixed the glitch after the launch was called off last week, Anil Bharadwaj, among others.


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