P.S. Veeraraghavan, a rocket technologist, took over on Saturday as Director, Vikram Sarabahi Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram, from K. Radhakrishnan who has been appointed Chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Mr. Veeraraghavan was till now Director, ISRO Inertial Systems Unit (IISU), Thiruvananthapuram.
He began his career in ISRO in 1971 after completing his B.E. in Electrical Engineering from the College of Engineering, Guindy, Chennai. A gold medallist, he secured the first rank from Madras University. He obtained his M.Tech. in electronics from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) - Madras. He finished his schooling from Gopalapuram Boys’ High School, Chennai.
Mr. Parivakkam Subramaniam Veeraraghavan joined ISRO in 1971 as engineer-in-charge of the computerised check-out systems of SLV-3 (Satellite Launch Vehicle), whose first flight took place from Sriharikota in 1979.
“For the first time, we developed a computerised check-out system for this class of vehicles. Till then, other countries had only manual check-out system for this kind of vehicles,” he said. As Deputy Director, Mechanisms and Vehicle Integration and Testing (MVIT) unit of VSSC, he was responsible for integration, check-out and launch of ISRO’s Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicles (ASLVs), Polar Satellite Launch Vehicles (PSLVs) and Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicles (GSLVs). He took over as IISU Director in 2002 and led the teams that developed sensor systems not only for launch vehicles but satellites. These inertial navigation systems guide the rockets in their trajectory, thus helping them to put the satellites in precise orbits.
A VSSC press-release said, “The performance of these inertial navigation systems has been at par with those of the best in the world. The inertial systems in Chandrayaan-1 contributed to its precise orbital manoeuvres and accurate lunar injection. Under his leadership, the IISU has developed a number of advanced inertial sensors and systems for future missions.”
According to Mr. Veeraghavan, there was “a huge task before us” with the launch of GSLV-D3 scheduled from Sriharikota in December. It would be the first time that a GSLV would have an indigenous cryogenic stage. The GSLV flights hitherto had cryogenic engines from Russia. The GSLV-D3 will put GSAT-4 into orbit. He said: “The GSLV-D3 will be a major milestone for us. We will then have a series of missions dealing with different kinds of satellites. We want to launch GSLV- Mark 3 by 2011-end. Then human space mission [putting an Indian into space] will be another huge task ahead of us. We have to tackle questions of reliability, safety etc. in that mission.”
Keywords: P.S. Veeraraghavan, rocket technologist, Vikram Sarabahi Space Centre, VSSC, Indian Space Research Organisation, ISRO, K. Radhakrishnan, Chairman, Inertial Systems Unit, IISU, computerised check-out system