Women power has always been behind the success of all the space missions carried out by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). As India is on the threshold of completing its second lunar mission for the first time two women scientists are leading the entire mission. While Ritu Karidhal is working as Mission Director, Muthayya Vanitha is leading Chandrayaan-2 as Project Director.
In a press conference, the Chairman of ISRO, K Sivan stated that 30% of the team working for Chandrayaan-2 are women.
Two Superwomen Leading Chandrayaan 2
The project director for this mission, Muthayya Vanitha is an electronics engineer who is now responsible for both failure and success of this second lunar mission. Ritu Karidhal, on the other hand, has a good experience of working on such missions having served as Deputy Director of Mars Mission.
Both these women have been working with ISRO for the last 20 years and have been a part of various launches. They have also contributed to the development of sub-systems for satellites.
Muthayya Vanitha- Project Director Chandrayaan-2
Prior to working as a project director for Chandrayaan-2, Muthayya Vanitha headed the telecom and divisions in digital systems group in the Satellite Center or the UR Rao space center of ISRO. Muthayya is also a project director of telecom and telemetry and divisions in digital system group and also has an experience of working as a deputy project director for Cartosat-1, TTC-baseband systems.
Having worked as the deputy project director for Megha-Tropiques satellites and Oceansat-2, Vanitha has been leading this second lunar mission right from the start. As a project director, Vanitha who was awarded the best woman scientist in the year 2006 is responsible for configuring, reviewing, assembling and implementation of the entire system. She is also the a single-point authority for the entire project.
Ritu Karidhal- Mission Director Chandrayaan-2
Prior to serving as the mission director of Chandrayaan-2, Ritu Karidhal was the operations director of Mars Orbiter Mission which was the first interplanetary mission of India. As mission director, Ritu who holds a masters degree in Aerospace Engineering from IISc had to conceptualize and execute the onward autonomy system of the craft. This system operates the satellite’s functions in space independently and responds to malfunctions appropriately.
Ritu joined ISRO in 1997 and received the ISRO Young Scientist Award from former president APJ Abdul Kalam in 2007.