Kalam award for ISRO scientist

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa presents the Dr.A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Award to N. Valarmathi, Programme Director, Microwave Remote Sening Programme, ISRO Satellite Centre, Bangalore .-Photo: M.Vedhan  

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, on Saturday, presented the first APJ Abdul Kalam award to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientist N. Valarmathi, who led the team that successfully launched Radar Imaging Satellite RISAT-1 in 2012.

Daughter of a government employee from Ariyalur, Ms. Valarmathi was presented a certificate, a cheque for Rs. 5 lakh and an eight-gram gold coin atthe Independence Day function at Fort St. George. The award was announced by Ms. Jayalalithaa in memory of former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who passed away last month. 

Speaking to reporters, Ms. Valarmathi thanked the Chief Minister for the honour and said she had interacted with Mr. Kalam on multiple projects. 

The RISAT-1 was the pinnacle of her career which has spanned over 30 years. A technologically superior imaging satellite, RISAT-1 had instruments such as the Synthetic Aperture Radar that could look through clouds and take images even during the night. 

“The satellite has been put to use for a variety of purposes. It was a satisfying mission,” a visibly elated Ms. Valarmathi said. 

The Kalpana Chawla award for courage and daring enterprise was awarded to Jothimani from Erode, a lorry driver. 

A vocation dominated by men, Ms. Jothimani, hailing from Kallipatti village in Gobichettipalayam, said her work involved driving heavy 10-wheeler lorries for long hours. 

“My husband taught me how to drive a lorry. I enjoy driving,” she said.  The Hindu  had profiled her in May this year.  Ms. Jayalalithaa also presented the Best Practices Award to Amma Unavagangal run by the Chennai Corporation, common service centres that are popularly known as e-sevai maiyam .