On 5th November 2013 was launched India’s maiden mission to Mars making India only the 4th country to introduce a satellite in the Red Planet’s orbit. The feat also made ISRO the only space organization to achieve it in the first attempt.
Out of the 500 people who were working to make the mission such a great success, there were some major contributions from women force. Around 27% of women holding key positions in the Mangalyaan mission.
1. Ritu Karidhal, Deputy Operations Director, Mangalyaan
She is also called as the “Rocket Woman of India” and at present is working on Chandrayaan-2, ISRO’s second mission to the moon. The self-proclaimed space nerd, Karidhal had to keep herself updated of all the developments that were carried out in the Indian Space Agency. She started her job with ISRO in 1997 after post-graduation and has worked on multiple missions.
2. Nandini Harinath, Project Manager, Mission Designer & Deputy Operations Director, Mangalyaan
For Nandini Harinath who has worked on more than 14 missions, the Space Agency has been her home for more than two decades now. During the launch of Mangalyaan, she held the key position of Mission Designer and Deputy Operations Director.
3. Anuradha TK
The current Project Director at ISRO for communication satellites, Anuradha TK joined ISRO in 1982 and became the first satellite project director of India at ISRO. The Aeronautical Society of India awarded her with Space Gold Medal in 2003 and in 2011 she was honored with Suman Sharma award by the National Design and Research Forum of IEI.
Anuradha TK also won two more awards in 2012 – the ISRO team award for leading the GSAT-12 team and ASI-ISRO Merit Award for the realization of Indigenous Communication Spacecraft.
4. Moumita Dutta, Project Manager, Mangalyaan
The physicist at the Space Applications Center is also an expert in testing and developing Optical and IR sensors/instruments/payloads required for space missions. Dutta developed the complete optical system of the sensor as the Project Manager for the Methane Sensor for Mars.
5. Minal Rohit, Project Manager, And System Engineer, Mangalyaan
The gold medalist in Electronics and Communications Engineering, NITS, Ahmedabad, Minal Rohit started her tenure at ISRO as a Satellite Communications Engineer. Minal held the crucial dual position of Systems Engineer and Project Manager for Mangalyaan and was connected with the incorporation of components of the payloads. Currently, she is working as a Deputy Project Manager at ISRO.
6. Dr. Seetha Somasundaram, Program Director
Dr. Seetha and her team were behind making the payloads work properly. She joined ISRO in the 1980s and her major contribution has been in the development of the instruments for various astronomical experiments based on space.
Through their immense contribution in the field of space and technology these women have made India proud and have set an example for others to follow.