S Somanath has assumed the position of Secretary, Department of Space and Chairman, Space Commission. S Somanath has confirmed that the Indian Space Research Organisation ISRO has been established on Friday. Somanath replaces Kailasavadivoo Sivan, whose tenure ended on January 14, 2022, as the new ISRO Chief.
Sivan was appointed in January 2018 as the ISRO Chief, Secretary of the Department of Space and Chairman Space Commission. He was given a one-year extension until January 14, 2022 in December 2020.
Somanath appointment as the Space Secretary and the Space Commission Chairman is for a combined tenure of three years from the date of joining the post, including an extension in tenure beyond the age of superannuation in public interest, as per the Personnel Ministry order issued on Wednesday.
After a four year stint as a director, Somanath assumed charge at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre VSSC Thiruvananapuram. He served for two and half years as the Director of the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre LPSC Valiamala.
Somanath obtained a B. Tech in mechanical engineering from TKM College of Engineering, Kollam and Masters in Aerospace Engineering from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, specialising in Structures, Dynamics and Control with a Gold Medal.
Somanath had joined VSSC in 1985 and was a team leader for the integration of PSLV during the early phases.
In an official statement, ISRO stated that Somanath is an expert in the area of system engineering of launch vehicles. His contributions in PSLV and GSLV Mk-III were in their overall architecture, propulsion stages design, structural and structural dynamics designs, separation systems, vehicle integration and integration procedures development.
He is also a recipient of the 'Space Gold Medal' from the Astronautical Society of India. He received the 'Merit Award and 'Performance Excellence Award' from ISRO and a 'Team Excellence Award' for GSLV Mk-III development.