Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh: India today successfully launched Mangalyaan to Mars, a Rs. 450-crore mission that has been in the making for over 15 months with over 500 scientists working on it.
India’s Mars dream was led by the current chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation, K Radhakrishnan. When not making satellites and rockets, he can be seen singing devotional songs at some of India’s most famous temples. He is also a skilled Kathakali dancer.
Like a good leader, Mr Radhakrishnan credits his team for meeting the stiff deadline for the launch of Mangalyaan, the “ISRO’s baby” as he likes to call it.
Mechanical engineer Subbiah Arunan has worked tirelessly for the last 15 months thinking only about Mars. As the hands-on team leader of the project, he took no break and spent many nights sleeping in the satellite center itself egging his team on to deliver, going home for a few hours to perform his puja or catch up on his favourite James Bond flicks.
At ISRO, a number of women worked equally hard to make Mangalyaan a reality. Suma D R, who heads the satellite testing facility at the agency, believes women make better managers.
Then there is India’s Mission Moon hero, M Annadurai, the man behind Chandrayaan-1 and who is now the program manager for the Mangalyaan mission. In a queer twist of fate, this engineer found water on the parched surface of the moon before he found quality potable water in his own village in Tamil Nadu.
These were only a few of the hundred-plus dreamers and daredevils who had only one desire for years now: to gift India its first inter-planetary satellite. As Mangalyaan left for its 300-day journey today, the dreamers can now go home for a good sleep tonight.
ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan offering prayers to the Dwajasthabam inside the Lord Venkateswara temple in Tirumala