India’s space future is in capable hands with rocket scientist Dr S. Somanath taking over as ISRO Chief.

The Indian Space Research Organisation has a new sheriff in town. ISRO yesterday announced Dr S. Somanath as its new chairman and Space Secretary. Curious to know more about the rocket scientist? We have all the answers.

He’ll be the 10th chairman of ISRO

Dr Somanath will be the 10th chairman of the organisation, and he replaces Dr. Kailasavadivoo Sivan. He will serve a combined tenure of three years from the date of joining. This is the same position held by none other than Vikram Sarabhai, widely regarded as the ‘Father of the Indian space program’.

He’s always been an ace student

Dr Somanath completed his B. Tech in Mechanical Engineering from TKM college of engineering in Kollam. He then did his Masters in Aerospace Engineering from the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru. Here he specialized in structures, dynamics and control, winning a gold medal for his performance.

A jack of all trades

An aerospace engineer and rocket scientist, he comes with a whole host of expertise under his belt. This includes proficiency in launch vehicle systems engineering, structural dynamics, integration designs and procedures, mechanism design and structural design along with pyrotechnics. Surely, we’ll be reaching for the stars soon, right?

He’s got years of experience

Before his stint as the chairman of ISRO, he served as the Associate Director (Projects) of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre. Additionally, he was also the Project Director of GSLV Mk-III Launch vehicle, from 2010 to 2014. Under his leadership, the Experimental flight of the LVM3-X/CARE mission was launched on December 18, 2014.

During his early days, he also served as a team leader for the Integration of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).

He’s got a cabinet full of trophies

Of course, to be the chairman of ISRO you have to be extraordinary. Dr Somanath takes this one step further and his award list is a testament to that. Among the many honors awarded to him, he’s the recipient of the Space Gold Medal from the Astronautical Society of India and the ‘Performance Excellence award’ from ISRO in 2009. Additionally, he’s also won the ‘Team excellence’ award for the GSLV Mk-III realisation.

He’ll likely head the Chandrayaan-3 launch

After the failure of Chandrayaan-2, due to a last-minute glitch, ISRO is ready to launch its third expedition to the moon. However, unlike the last time, the craft will only include a lander and rover and not the orbiter. While work on this project started years ago, we expect Dr. Somanath to oversee the final leg of the project.