An Inspiring life of K. Sivan - From a Farmer's son to ISRO's 'Rocket Man.'
While Chandrayaaan-2 Vikram Lander lost its ISRO communication a few inches before landing on the lunar, it was Dr K. Sivan who shot to fame for all his rigorous hard work and sheer dedication. Dr K. Sivan, Chairman, ISRO, who spearheaded India's latest moon mission has seen a lot of struggle and hardships during his childhood days.
A farmer's son; Works at ISRO and carried out the famous 'Chandrayaan-2' mission
Being the son of a farmer, he used to work in agricultural farms during vacation time. He used to walk barefoot until he secured his admission at Madras Institute of Technology. He didn't have proper trousers and would wrap a dhoti in colleges. However, one thing that Dr K. Sivan possessed was a brilliant mind and a dream to explore the world through space science.
Under his mentorship, Chandrayaan-2 was carried out perfectly, apart from the landing glitch. It will help India collect tons of critical data from the moon. A mission which achieved 98% of success was a remarkable feat by ISRO under the leadership of highly-skilled Dr. K. Sivan.
Pursued Aeronautical Engineering from MIT; First Graduate in his Family
Dr K. Sivan was born in a farmer's family at Tarakkanvilai Village, Kanyakumari. He studied at Tamil Medium Government schools and later completed his graduation from ST Hindu College, Nagercoil. Being a son of a marginal farmer, he neither attended any tuitions nor had any guidance from family. Thus, a self-made man, he became the first graduate in his family.
Sivan completed his graduation in Aeronautical Engineering from Madras Institute of Technology in 1980 and Master of Engineering in Aerospace Engineering from IISc, Bangalore (1982). Later, he completed his Ph.D. in Aerospace from IIT, Bombay (2006).
He started working in ISRO since 1982 under the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) project. He gave an immense contribution towards mission planning, designing, integration platforms, and analysis. Other than this, he shared his knowledge and wisdom for many successful and pilot projects of ISRO.
The proud inventor of 'day-of-launch' wind biasing strategy; Took charge of ISRO.
Dr. K. Sivan proudly developed and implemented 'day-of launch wind biasing strategy' that helps the rocket to launch any day, anytime irrelevant of weather and wind conditions. Due to his deep understanding and knowledge on launch vehicles, he wrote a book in 2015 titled as 'Integrated Design for Space Transportation System' in 2015.
Before taking charge of ISRO as a chairman, Sivan worked as a director for Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram. In his career span of 3+ decades, he has spearheaded many critical missions and suggested design strategies for such as GSLV, PSLV, GSLV –MK3 and RLV- LTD. For Sivan, his ability to be curious, energetic, and hunger to learn new technologies helps him to break barriers and achieve consistently.
Entitled 'ISRO's Rocket Man; Won prestigious Dr A.P.J Abdul Kalam Bharat Ratna Award.
Sivan added two feathers in his cap during the first year of being a Chairman, ISRO – Launch of Chandrayaan – II and development of Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-MK3). Other than this, Sivan played a crucial role in helping India set a world record of launching 104 satellites with a single flight of PSLV.
Sivan has won many prestigious awards through a career span of 4+ decades, including Dr Vikram Sarabhai Research Award (1999), Doctor of Science, (Honoris Causa), Sathyabama University, Chennai (2014), and Dr A.P.J Abdul Kalam Bharat Ratna Award by Tamil Nadu Government, 2019.
Due to his immense contribution in the development of the cryogenic engine, PSLV, GSLV, and reusable launch vehicle (RLV) programs, he is known as ISRO's 'Rocket Man.' Although, a rocket expert; in his pass time, he loves listening to Tamil classical songs and do gardening. His favourite movie is Rajesh Khanna Starrer 'Aradhana.'
Things K. Sivan's career story teaches us:
Being the son of a farmer, he never let his poor situation act as a hurdle in achieving his career goals. His sedentary lifestyle and brilliant mind teach us that we should focus more towards attaining knowledge rather than living only a hi-end lifestyle. He was happy to share his knowledge and expertise for the development of PSLV, GSLV and RLV; thus derived his title 'Rocket Man'. His curiosity made him invent 'day-of launch wind biasing strategy' that helps the rocket to launch anytime, anywhere under any weather or wind conditions. His hunger to learn new technologies help him to overcome barriers and achieve milestones in life.