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On becoming the chairperson and Sivan shares his feelings and excitement that it was a rare opportunity and this position is held by legendary people and Sivan accepts the position with humility. Sivan has also evolved many novel strategies for launching the MARS mission of India through PSLV. The leadership of Sivan has led to the historical achievement of the GSLV flight. Sivan is popularly known as the “Rocket Man” as he has contributed significantly towards the development of the cryogenic engines, for the space programme.

Early career ...

Sivan has held different positions at ISRO. He was Project Director GSLV for the period 2011-2013. For the period 2014-2015 Sivan was associated as Director LPSC and Director for VSSC for the period 2015-2017. Sivan served as the member for Space Commission for the year 2016-2017 and also as the Vice-Chairman for ISRO Council. In January 2018, Sivan was appointed as the Chief of ISRO.

For Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), Sivan worked on the design and development of the launch vehicles. It was in 1982 that Sivan has joined ISRO for the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle project. In 2014, Sivan was appointed as the director for the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre of ISRO and in 2015, has become the director of VSSC. As soon as Sivan has completed his master’s degree, he started working with ISRO. Sivan is a fellow for the Indian National Academy of Engineering, Aeronautical Society of India and Systems Society of India. Sivan is the former Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Center and Liquid Propulsion Centre.

Sivan is the fellow member of ...

• Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE)

• Aeronautical Society of India (AeSI)

• Systems Society of India (SSI)

• Indian Systems Society for Science and Engineering (ISSE)

His contributions towards ISRO...

Sivan serves as the Chief architect of the ISRO’s Space Transportation for drawing the technology roadmap in order to meet the future requirements and also to augment the existing capabilities. Sivan has made significant contribution towards the design of the vehicle, control and guidance, mission management strategies and flight demonstration. One of the most cost effective strategies for the Mars Orbiter Mission was been evolved by Sivan by using PSLV.

Sivan has also implemented the strategy for upper stage PSLV restart capability which helps in improving the versatility of the mission by inserting multiple payloads into different orbits for a single launch mission. Sivan has also contributed towards enhancement of performance and reliability of all the ISRO launch vehicles.

Sivan has also initiated the development and enhancement of the medical devices in some of the crucial areas like development of the artificial limb and artificial heart pump which are being controlled by advanced microprocessor and are named as Left Ventricle Assist Device.

Hardships faced in his leadership journey...

The financial constraints faced by the family of Sivan have forced him to pursue Bachelors degree in mathematics. He was exceptional in mathematics and has created a record by scoring 100% in four subjects. Sivan was got noticed and also a chance of scholarship by the alumni of MIT, that includes the former president and the missile man of India, A P J Abdul Kalam.

Space science and rocketry never crossed the minds of Sivan, even when he was studying in a remote local village of Tamil Nadu. Continuous encouragement from his father and help from relatives has made Sivan to take up aeronautical engineering at MIT. While Abdul Kalam was in batch 4, Sivan was in batch 29, same subject with 25 years apart.

Achievements and leadership success...

In 2011, Sivan has joined GSLV and has led the historical achievement of the most successful GSLV flight with indigenous cryogenic stage. His innovations with respect to the mission design strategies have enabled performance consistency of PSLV and also proved to be a very good foundation for the launch of other ISRO vehicles. Sivan has also had numerous publications in various reputed journals which also include a book titled “Integrated Design for Space Transportation System”.

Sivan is the crucial person in ISRO who works on the technicalities involved in placing of the satellites in the orbit. Sivan was also a part of the team which has initiated a reusable launch vehicle, the Swadeshi space shuttle. His contributions for the PLSV projects were immense and were towards end to end mission planning, mission design, mission integration and also analysis. Sivan is also the chief of architect for the 6D trajectory simulation software, SITARA which is the main back-bone for the real-time and non real-time trajectory simulations for all the ISRO launch vehicles. Sivan has also commissioned the simulation facility for mission synthesis and analysis which has been proved to be the world class simulation, which is been mainly, used in the launch vehicles of ISRO.

Sivan has also developed and implemented an innovative day-of-launch wind biasing strategy which has enabled the rocket launch on any day of the year and at any weather and wind conditions. Some of his significant contributions are towards establishment of Parallel computing facility and hypersonic wild tunnel facility. At ISRO, Sivan has held different responsibilities such as Group Director, MSSG, Project Director, RLV-TD, Deputy Director, Aeronautical Entity, Deputy Director, GSLV, Chief Controller, Project Director, and Structures Entity etc. The expertise of Sivan has provided ISRO with the capacity for launching almost 104 satellites in a single mission and which has set the world record.

Awards and accolades...

• In 1999, Sivan was awarded with the Dr Vikram Sarabhai Research Award by Shri Hari Om Ashram.

• In 2007, Sivan was awarded with the ISRO merit award.

• In 2011, Dr Bjren Roy Space Award was given to Sivan.

• In 2013, the MIT Alumni Association, Chennai has awarded Sivan with the Distinguished Alumnus Award.

• In 2018, the Institute of Science, Bangalore has awarded Sivan with the Distinguished Alumnus Award.

• In 2014, Sathyabama University has conferred Sivan with the Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa).

• In 2016, Sivan was awarded by ISRO for his outstanding achievement for the year.

• In 2017, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay has awarded Sivan with the Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Unknown facts about the great leader...

From being the son of the Father, Sivan has now reached for the sky and is named as the rocket scientist from Tamil Nadu.

• Sivan is a self-made and hard-working person. He taught himself without the guidance and support from the family but yet has become the first graduate from his entire family.

• While working for PSLV project, he has contributed significantly towards the complete process of project right from planning, designing, integration to the analysis of the mission.

• Apart from his PhD, Sivan also holds an Honorary doctorate in Science from Sathyabama University.

• Along with being Chairman, Sivan has also been appointed as the Secretary of Department of Space and Chairman of Space Commission.

• Sivan played a key role in setting the world record of launching 104 satellites.

• Sivan has even made significant contributions in the design and development on Electro – Optical Imaging sensors.

Personal life...

Sivan has been graduated his BE in aeronautical engineering from Madras Institute of Technology. From Indian Institute of Science, he has completed his Masters in aerospace engineering. Sivan has earned the doctoral degree in aerospace engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay in 2006. Sivan is the first graduate from his entire family. Sivan is married to Malathi and has two children.

Hope readers caught up the spark...