Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan is an Indian astrophysicist and space scientist who headed the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) from 1994 to 2003.
Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan was born on Thursday 24 October 1940.age 82 years; by 2022) in Ernakulam, Kochi, Kerala. He pursued Bachelor of Science with Honors and Master of Science in Physics at Bombay University (University of Mumbai). He earned his doctorate in experimental high energy astronomy in 1971, working at the Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad. His mother had died in his childhood. Thereafter, Kasturirangan and his brother, Ananthanarayana (Ravi), grew up in their grandparents’ house in Ernakulam, meanwhile their father remarried and moved to Bombay (now Mumbai). Their first school was primarily for girls only, however, boys were admitted to the first two standards. Thereafter, he joined Sri Rama Varma High School in Ernakulam. Describing the similarity prevalent in his school days in an interview, he said,
In our class, a few tables were set aside for the members of the Cochin royal family. These boys used to come in limousines, and enter the class a minute before the lesson. This was to maintain the level of separation between the children of the royal family and the common people.
When Kasturirangan was 10 years old, his grandfather died, after which he moved to Bombay, where he continued his schooling at the South Indian Education Society High School, Matunga. Thereafter, he took admission in Ramnarayan Ruia Autonomous College, Matunga, where he completed his B.Sc. (Hons.) in Physics (Primary Subject) and Mathematics (Secondary Subject).
He pursued Master of Science in Physics at the University of Bombay (University of Mumbai). After appearing in a newspaper advertisement, he applied for a fellowship at the Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad. He completed M.sc with Electronics as an elective subject in 1963. He did his PhD in Cosmic X-rays Vikram SarabhaiHe is considered the father of the Indian space program.
Height (approx.): 5′ 6″
Hair Color: black (half bald)
Eye Colour: black
Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan belongs to a Tamil Brahmin family. Several centuries ago, their ancestors migrated from Tamil Nadu to Kerala. His maternal grandfather, Sri Ananthanarayana Iyer, completed his school and college education and became a sanitation inspector in Ernakulam. His grandfather’s name is Chalakudi Manickam Iyer.
parents and siblings
Kasturirangan’s mother Vishalakshi died in childhood. His father, CM Krishnaswamy Iyer did his graduation in Chemistry at Maharaja’s College, Ernakulam. He served in a variety of administrative capacities at Tata Airlines and retired as a Senior Accounts Officer at the Indian Airlines Corporation (now Indian Airlines).
After the death of their mother, Kasturirangan and his brother, Ananthanarayana (Ravi), grew up with their grandparents in Ernakulam. Meanwhile, his father remarried Alamelu Ammal. Together, they had two children, Subbaram and Subbalakshmi.
wife and children
In 1969, shortly before completing his PhD, he married Lakshmi, who passed away in August 1991. Together, they had two sons Rajesh and Sanjay.
In 1969, when Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan was completing his doctoral thesis, he saw the birth of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), where he was offered the position of scientist. Vikram Sarabhai in 1971. His first project at ISRO was to build the Rohini satellite. He was also the project director of India’s first two experimental earth observation satellites, Bhaskara-I and II. For more than 9 years till 2003, Dr. Kasturirangan led the Indian space program as the Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization. He also served as the Chairman of the Space Commission and Secretary to the Government of India in the Department of Space, before leaving his office on 27 August 2003. Under his leadership, ISRO witnessed various successful operations including polar launch and operations. Satellite Launch Vehicle, Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, Civilian Remote Sensing Satellite IRS-1C and 1D, New Generation INSAT Communication Satellite and Ocean Observation Satellite IRS-P3/P4. He made major contributions to the study of cosmic X-ray and gamma ray sources and the effects of cosmic X-rays in the lower atmosphere. These efforts have placed India as a leading space-enthusiast nation among the six countries that have major space programmes. He has served as Honorary Professor of Physics at the Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad and Jawaharlal Nehru Center for Advanced Research, Bangalore. He has chaired some prestigious international committees, such as the International Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS), the Panel for Space Research in Developing Countries of Kospar/ICSU, and the UN-ESCAP Committee meeting at the senior official level. Led to the adoption of the “Delhi Declaration” by the ministers of the region (1999–2000). He is a Fellow of Indian Academy of Sciences, Indian National Science Academy, National Academy of Sciences of India, Indian National Academy of Engineering, Astronautical Society of India, National Telematics Forum, Indian Meteorological Society, Third World Academy of Sciences, Indian National Academy of Sciences. Academy of Sciences. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the Institution of Electronics and Telecommunications Engineers, a founding member of the Astronomical Society of India, a Life Member of the Indian Physics Association, an Honorary Fellow of the Indian Science Congress Association and the Indian Society of Remote Sensing and Aeronautical Society of India. , Kerala Academy of Sciences, and Cardiff University, UK. He has published over 200 papers and edited 6 books in both international and national journals in the areas of astronomy, space science and space applications. In 2021, he was appointed as the head of the 12-member steering committee responsible for developing a new National Curriculum Framework (NCF). This committee was given an assignment term of 3 years for the development of textbooks, curricula and teaching methods of schools across the country.
other post held
- Director, National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) at Bangalore (2004-2009)
- Member of the Upper House of the Indian Parliament (2003-2009)
- Member (Science) with Planning Commission of India (now defunct)
- Vice President of the International Academy of Astronautics
- member of the International Astronomical Union
- President of Indian Academy of Sciences (2001-03)
- President of the Indian National Academy of Engineering (2005-06)
- Academician of Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Vatican City
- General Secretary of Indian Science Congress
- President of the UN Center for Space Science and Technology Education (UN-CSSTE)
- Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University
- Chairman of Karnataka Knowledge Commission
- Chancellor of Rajasthan Central University
- Chancellor of NIIT University
- Member of the Board of Trustees of Raman Research Institute Trust, Bengaluru
Awards, Honors, Achievements
- Brock Medal of the International Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (2004)
- International Astronautical Federation’s Allan d’Emile Memorial Award (2004)
- Theodor von Karmann Prize by the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) (2007),
- Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award in Engineering
- Lifetime Achievement Award from Asia-Pacific Satellite Communications Council, Singapore
- Aryabhata Medal (2000) by the Indian National Science Academy
- Ashutosh Mukherjee Memorial Award by the Indian Science Congress, Jewel of the Ruia College Alumni Association, 2007
- Maharana Udai Singh Award 2007-08 by Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation, Udaipur, 2008
- Rajayogindra Award, Maharaja of Mysore, Mysore, 2008
- Vikram Sarabhai Memorial Gold Medal, Indian Science Congress, Shillong, 2009
Facts / Trivia
- As a member of the Rajya Sabha, he donated Rs 1 crore to his school from his Member of Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) fund for the construction of an additional educational block.
- From childhood, he had a strong appetite for reading. Conan Doyle, Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas are his favorite authors.
- He was awarded the “Jewel of Ruia” award presented to the alumni of Ramnarayan Ruia Autonomous College, Matunga in 2007.
- Dr Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan led the team that drafted the New Education Policy (NEP) 2020, which introduced a 5+3+3+4 structure, flexible examinations and vocational education training at youth levels in India’s education infrastructure.