Tuesday 2 January 2024

Samarth Bharat Parva - Dr. Seetha Somasundaram - Space Instrumentation Expert

Great things have been done in the past in this land, and there is both time and room for greater things to be done yet. …Our ancestors did great things in the past, but we have to grow into a fuller life and march beyond even their great achievements.

-- Swami Vivekananda
{CWSV-3 : Lectures From Colombo to Almora : The Mission of the Vedanta}
{Swami Vivekananda's Rousing Call to Hindu Nation : The Message:  The Task of Regeneration : Its Basis and Direction}

Dr. Seetha Somasundaram is renowned as a space instrumentation expert at ISRO. Her notable contribution was to the Chandrayaan 2 space mission, a pivotal moment of glory for India. She efficiently handled various responsibilities during her tenure at ISRO. Today, we are will see about her achievements.

She pursued her B.Sc (Hons) degree from Hindu College, University of Delhi, followed by an M.Sc from IIT, Madras, and obtained her PhD in Physics from the Institute of Science, Bangalore. Her childhood passion for astronomy led her to specialize in X-ray studies and variable stars within the optical band. Over the years, she has significantly contributed to developing instruments for space-based astronomical experiments.

Somasundaram served as the Program Director in ISRO's Space Science Office and notably led the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), popularly known as Mission Mangalyaan. This mission, launched by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) on November 5, 2013, represents her sentiment as she often highlights in interviews: "The most remarkable thing about MOM's success is that India became the first country in the world to reach Mars in its first attempt."

In the 1980s, when Dr. Seetha Somasundaram began her journey at ISRO, women in the organization were few. Despite skepticism regarding their capability to handle space intricacies, their tireless efforts shattered these stereotypes. Today, women in ISRO occupy senior positions and have successfully led multiple missions.

As the Principal Investigator of Astrosat, India's first space telescope, launched a few years ago, Dr. Sita Somasundaram faced numerous challenges. Despite hurdles, her family's unwavering support and her dedicated team led to the mission's success. Her involvement in payload characterization and calibration of Mangalyaan further underscored her contributions.

Throughout her career, Dr. Seetha Somasundaram has been recognized with various awards, including the CV Raman Young Scientist Award in Physics (2003) and the Best Woman Scientist Award 2012 from the Astronautical Society of India. Her journey, marked by perseverance and hard work, stands as a testament to overcoming challenges as a woman in her field. We wish her continued success in her future endeavors.

- Sarvesh Fadnavis,  courtesy : https://sarveshfadnavis.blogspot.com

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