The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) has today bid a “sombre” farewell to its Chairman K Radhakrishnan, who superannuated on December 31.
It may be noted, Radhakrishnan’s tenure ended in August and was extended by four months, till December 31, by the Government on functional grounds and in public interest.
Isro which narrates Radhakrishnan as ‘Man of Steel’ in its facebook has said he is an efficient engineer, magnificent manager, an impeccable institution builder; and an inspiring leader and “triumphantly led ISRO through many historic milestones in the last five years being at the helm of affairs”.
After delivering five consecutive successful PSLV missions including the PSLV-C08 that lofted Chandrayaan-1 and leading several crucial technology development at VSSC – Radhakrishnan took over the reins of Indian Space Programme in November 2009.
With the 12 successful PSLV missions, the successful GSLV with indigenous cryogenic stage, the Mars Orbiter Mission, the LVM-3 experimental flight with CARE module, the Six INSAT/GSAT satellites, three navigation Satellites and Six Earth Observation satellites (including RISAT-1, the first microwave imaging satellite) Radhakrishnan is leaving ISRO at its “most glorified pedestal ever”.
After completing his graduation in Electrical Engineering from Kerala University, he joined Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in 1972 and rose through the ranks, in brisk space. He was handpicked by Satish Dhawan – the then Chairman of ISRO, to control and monitor the Budget and Economic Analysis activities at ISRO Head Quarters, according to Isro.
By then he had completed his post graduation from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. During 1981-2000, he occupied several coveted positions like Project Director for establishment of Regional Remote Sensing Centers, Director of Budget and Economic Analyses, Program Director for National Natural Resource Management Systems and Mission Director of Integrated Mission of Sustainable Development and Deputy Director at the National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA), Hyderabad. Meanwhile he also completed his PhD from Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur.
During 2000-2005 at the Ministry of Earth Science he established the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) and India’s Tsunami Warning Centre.
He came back to ISRO as Director of NRSA and went on to become the Director of VSSC, his alma-mater at ISRO.
Radhakrishnan was conferred with Padma- Bhushan, the third highest Civilian Award in India, in 2014.
An Alumni Awardee of both IIT Kharagpur and IIM Bangalore – he was recognised with several distinctions. Being in the top ten scientific personalities in 2014 by Nature Science Journal, The Allan D Emil Award of International Astronautical Federation are some of glimpses of his international recognition.