Indian aerospace engineer and eminent rocket scientist S. Somanath has been appointed as the new chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
Somanath, who takes over as the tenth chairman of the Bengaluru-based premier space organisation, will succeed Kailasavadivoo Sivan who completes his extended tenure on Friday.
Somnath was appointed by the Union government as the Secretary of the Department of Space and the Chairman of the Space Commission on Wednesday. His appointment is for a combined tenure of three years from the date of joining the post, inclusive of an extension in tenure beyond the age of superannuation in public interest, a Personnel Ministry order said.
The post of the ISRO chairman, the Space Secretary and the Space Commission chief is usually held by one person only.
Somanath is currently the Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Kerala's Thiruvananthapuram. He was a team leader for the Integration of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) during the early phases of his career.
The first experimental flight of the LVM3-X/CARE mission was successfully accomplished on December 18, 2014 under his leadership.
He took charge as VSSC head on January 22, 2018, after a two-and-a-half-year stint as the Director of Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC), Valiamala, Thiruvananthapuram.
Earlier, he served as the Associate Director (Projects) of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre and also as the Project Director of GSLV Mk-III launch vehicle.
Born in July 1963, Somanath graduated in Mechanical Engineering from Kerala University and completed his post-graduation in Aerospace Engineering from Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore.