Women in science are quite a rare feat. Despite their hard work many of them still remain behind the curtains. Today we are speaking of one such woman, Lalithambika V.R., who is leading India’s Human Space Flight Programme.

Who is she?

  • Lalithambika V.R is a scientist at ISROwho has played a role in building India’s rocket programme.
  • She has worked on building the autopilot of rockets as she led the team to review the design of rockets – including the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-Mk-3), the rocket intended to carry the human space mission.
  • Lalithambika was early deputy director at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram. Sivan was previously the director at VSSC.
  • She has been selected to lead the country’s Human Space Flight Programme.

What made this selection?

On Independence day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that India looks to carry a human into space on an Indian spacecraft from Indian soil by 2022. The mission could cost as much as Rs 10,000 crore

ISRO chairman K Sivan has picked Lalithambika, who has won the Astronautical Society of India for excellence award in launch vehicle technology, to spearhead the programme to make India the fourth country launch a human in space.

A crucial model

Since 2004, when the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) first prepared a plan for human spaceflight, the agency has been developing technologies that are building blocks for such a mission.

The most crucial is that of a crew module, a capsule that can carry humans and which Isro has successfully demonstrated by having a prototype re-enter the earth’s atmosphere withstanding the thermal heat caused by friction. In July, it demonstrated the pad abort test (PAT), or the crew module ejecting from the rocket in case of a failure.

Her Task

Lalithambika’s task would be to ensure that these technologies are built as systems and tested. She also has the task of involving the private industry, collaborate with the academia, the Indian Air Force, DRDO and foreign institutions for the mission.

Source: The Economic Times