This is an age when human kind has reached the farthest reaches of solar space and India has become a potent player in the space race. From its rudimentary beginnings after Independence and the several hundreds of successfully launched satellites, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is a proud and esteemed organization. Contrary to common beliefs, women have been extremely instrumental in helping India achieve the dream of space exploration remarkably.
With the recent success of the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), these women geniuses have finally gained the appreciation and popularity that they so deserve. Here is our tribute to the top female scientists at ISRO as without dedication and commitment, the Mars Orbiter Mission would not have been successful.
Ritu Kirdhal – Deputy Operation Director – Mars Orbiter Mission
Ritu Kirdhal was the deputy operations director for the ISRO Mars Orbiter Mission Mangal, also known as the “Mangalyaan”. Mrs. Kirdhal was played an integral role in making the mission an immense success and has been dubbed as the “Rocket Woman” of India. Mrs. Kirdhal was born in Lucknow and completed her aerospace engineer degree with top marks.
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Before starting work on MOM, Mrs. Kirdhal had previously worked on numerous other projects for ISRO and has served as the Operations Director for many of these. Since childhood, Mrs. Kirdhal has a dream of reaching the skies. Being naturally inquisitive about the dimensions of the moon and curious to know how it changed its size gradually, Mrs. Kirdhal began working for the ISRO at the age of 18 years. She was one of the many scientists who made the Mars Mission possible with 18 months of hard work.
Married, with 2 kids, Mrs. Kirdhal epitomizes the perfect balance that women maintain between career and family life.
Nandini Harinath – Deputy Operation Director – Mars Orbiter Mission
Nandini Harinath is a renowned rocket scientist with ISRO’s Satellite Center located in Bengaluru. Mrs. Harinath played an important role in making the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) an astonishing success. She is also renowned as the co-author of the research paper relating to the mission planning, operations and analysis called “Outline of Key Components”.
Mrs. Harinath has been an ISRO scientist for over 20 years now and has contributed immensely to over 14 missions previous to the Mangalyaan. Being an avid Star Trek fan, Nandini Harinath was fascinated with space travel since childhood. Till date, she has held several important posts in the space organization, including Mission Designer, Project Manager as well as Deputy Operations Director for the Mars Orbiter Mission.
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Anuradha TK – GEOSAT Program Director – ISRO Satellite Center
Mrs. Anuradha TK is the senior most female scientist at ISRO and specializes in communication satellites. She is credited with the launch of numerous globally popular GEOSAT satellites, including GSAT – 10 and GSAT – 12.
She began working for ISRO back in 1982 and is the first female satellite project director for ISRO. She is also credited for encouraging and helping to grow the female work force in ISRO to nearly 25%.
ZEE5 – Mission Over Mars (MOM)
To highlight the work and dedication of women space scientists all over India, ZEE5 showcases the Mars Over Mission (MOM), a thrilling web series that shows the work and commitment of female engineers and technicians who have contributed to ISRO’s and India’s popularity as one of the world’s greatest space research organizations.