Rocket women lead the charge
One of the lesser-known facts about Chandrayaan 2, is the notable presence of women behind the scenes
One of the lesser-known facts about Chandrayaan 2 is the notable presence of women behind the scenes. We take a look at two of the big names.
Muthayya Vanitha and Ritu Karidhal: What's special about them is that they are two of the most important women behind the Chandrayaan 2 mission. Ms. Vanitha from Tamil Nadu is the project director responsible for the spaceflight to the Moon from beginning to end. She is also the first woman to hold this position at ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation). Ms. Karidhal, a native of Uttar Pradesh, is the mission director who will coordinate the activities of the spacecraft. The two women, both in their forties, have been working together at the ISRO for the past 20 years.
Ms. Vanitha, an electronics systems engineer at the UR Rao Satellite Centre, is an expert on satellite communications specialising in digital signals. She previously served as Deputy Project Director of OceanSat-2, the first Indian remote sensing satellite for ocean mapping and research, and the Indian-French Satellite Mega-Tropicus for the study of the water cycle in the tropics.
She was named the Best Female Scientist in 2006 by the Astronautical Society of India. She is also one of the Top Five Scientists of the Year 2019, selected by the science journal Nature.
Ritu Karidhal, the mother of two children previously served as Deputy Operations Director at Mangalyaan. In 2007, ISRO selected her as Young Scientist in Aerospace Engineering from the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru.
In a video shared on social media, she says that she realized that science was her passion. The two are a shining examplefor girls who choose to study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics [STEM].
Women have been involved in other space missions too. But these two are the first to become the mission director and project director of such a big project, says Dr. Annadurai, former director of the ISRO Satellite Center in Bangalore. "It is great to see women taking the lead in these historic missions," he said.
[Autotranslated from the original Malayalam]