Three top-level appointments have taken place in the Indian Space Research Organisation for the posts of Director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram, the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) and the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.

S. Ramakrishnan, an accomplished engineer in rocketry and architect of the ISRO’s highly successful Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), took over as VSSC Director on December 31, 2012 from P.S. Veeraraghavan, who retired that day. Mr. Ramakrishnan was earlier Director, LPSC.

M.C. Dathan, a chemical engineer, took over as LPSC Director on New Year’s Day. The LPSC has three facilities at Mahendragiri near Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu, Valiamala near Thiruvananthapuram and Bangalore. Mr. Dathan was earlier Director, SDSC, Sriharikota.

M.Y.S. Prasad, a suave electronics and communication engineer, has become Director of the SDSC, the spaceport from where all ISRO rockets are launched. Earlier, he was its Associate Director.

After he joined the ISRO in August 1972, Mr. Ramakrishnan worked as a member of the SLV-3 project team under the leadership of A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. Subsequently, he joined the PSLV programme and was Project Director of several PSLV flights from 1996 to 2002. He played a big role in developing the PSLV’s liquid propulsion stages. Under his leadership, the PSLV became an operational rocket and the weight of the satellites that it could put into orbit went up from 900 to 1,500 kg. He was Mission Director of the PSLV-C1, C2, C3 and C4 flights.

Mr. Ramakrishnan graduated in Mechanical Engineering from the College of Engineering, Guindy, Chennai, in 1970 and received his M.Tech. in Aerospace from the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras with the first rank.

A chemical engineer from the Government Engineering College, Thrissur, Kerala, Mr. Dathan worked in all ISRO launch vehicle projects such as SLV-3, ASLV, PSLV, GSLV-Mk I, Mk-II and Mk-III. He was the Chief Executive of the sprawling, state-of-the-art Space Propellant Booster Plant at Sriharikota and he realised the newly-built, world-class Mission Control Centre and the Launch Control Centre on the island.

Dr. Prasad was Director, Master Control Facility at Hassan, Karnataka, from 1998 to 2005 and earlier worked in the ISRO’s Technical Liaison unit in Paris as Counsellor (Space) from 1994 to 1997. He was also Deputy Director of the Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad.