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S Somanath Takes Charge As Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre’s Director

SRO’s Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) director S Somanath taken charge as the new director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC). It is ISRO’s lead center for launch vehicles. He replaced K Sivan who has joined ISRO as Chairman.

In a fresh change of guard, ISRO’s Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) director S Somnath has taken charge as the new director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), which is ISRO’s lead centre for launch vehicles, here on Monday. He says the focus is on two upcoming launches next month.
Soon after taking charge, VSSC new director Somnath told TOI that his priorities will be on technology upgradation of launch vehicle design and to focus on immediate launches including GSLV-Mark (MK) II and PSLV-C41 in Feb. GSAT -MKII (F09) will be for the launch of communication satellite GSAT-6A and PSLV-C41 for launch of Indian remote sensing satellite IRNSS-1I. Then, GSLV-MKII (F10) for Chandrayaan-II, the second Moon mission is slated for April and following that GSLV-MK III is planned for launch, he said.
He is offering leadership for the development of 200 ton Semi-cryogenic engine for future launch vehicles, throttle able engines for lander craft of Chanradrayaan-2 and high thrust electric propulsion systems for future all Electric propulsion satellites. An expert in the area of system engineering of Launch vehicles, Somnath has made contributions in PSLV and GSLV MkIII in their overall architecture, propulsion systems, structural and structural dynamics, separation systems, vehicle integration and integration procedures development.

As a ‘Distinguished Scientist’ grade officer and as director of LPSC at Valiamala here, Somnath was responsible for liquid engines and stages for all launch vehicles and satellite programs of ISRO. Till June, 2015, he was the associate director (Projects) of VSSC and also the project director of GSLV Mk-III Launch vehicle.

Under his leadership as the Project Director, the first Experimental flight of LVM3-X/CARE mission was successfully accomplished on Dec 18, 2014. It was in 1985 that Somnath joined ISRO. He has served as a team leader for Integration of PSLV during its early development phase, its first flight and the successful second flight PSLV-D2. As Project Manager he handled areas of mechanisms, pyro-technique systems and satellite launch service management. He conceived and executed the first time launches of commercial mini satellites and developed small satellite mounting and separation systems which have successfully deployed many commercial satellites.

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