Roles assumed by women have undergone a profound evolution. Transitioning from traditional nurturing responsibilities, they have emerged as indispensable contributors across diverse domains, including science and technology. Chandrayaan-3 hailed the women scientists who led India’s moon landing. This article serves as a tribute to the female engineers who orchestrated the expedition, making groundbreaking history.
Groundbreaking Chandrayaan-3 mission
ISRO, or the Indian Space Research Organisation, is India's national space agency. Chandrayaan-3 marks the third chapter in its lunar exploration saga through the Chandrayaan program. Its purpose is to explore the moon's surface, study lunar composition, and demonstrate soft landing capabilities.
Embarking on a transformative lunar exploration journey, Chandrayaan-3 stands as a testament to India's space ambitions. Launched on July 14, 2023, from Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, this mission is an extension of ISRO's lunar program, aiming to explore the moon's mysteries with precision.
The mission comprises the Vikram lander and the Pragyan rover, symbolising technological innovation. The propulsion module facilitated the lunar orbit insertion, a crucial step, achieved on August 5, 2023. This propelled the spacecraft into an orbit around the moon, preparing for a historic lunar landing.
Vikram, equipped with four landing legs and thrusters, carries both Pragyan and scientific instruments for lunar analysis. Pragyan, the six-wheeled rover, embarked on an odyssey across the lunar surface.
Chandrayaan-3's triumphant lunar descent on August 23, 2023 showcased India's prowess in soft landings. With meticulous calculations, Vikram achieved a controlled touchdown, setting the stage for Pragyan's mission.
Pioneering Women Scientists behind Chandrayaan-3 Mission
Within Chandrayaan-3's celestial voyage, a constellation of remarkable women scientists emerges. This assembly of 54 adept female engineers and scientists exemplifies the culmination of scientific excellence intertwined with relentless determination. Here are the nine leading women scientists who were part of India’s Chandrayaan-3 lunar mission.
Ritu Karidhal Srivastava
This accomplished Indian scientist and aerospace engineer started on her ISRO journey in 1997. As the Deputy Operations Director of India's Mars Orbiter Mission (Mangalyaan), she played a pivotal role in orchestrating the spacecraft's autonomy system. It enables the spaceship to navigate space autonomously and respond to anomalies with precision.
Fondly referred to as one of India's "Rocket Women," Ritu's contributions were undeniable in propelling India into the exclusive league of space explorers. Her expertise resonates in conceptualizing and executing the craft's onward autonomy system. It was a cornerstone of the mission's success.
Read more: 10 Greatest Female Scientists of All Time
Kalpana, armed with an aeronautical engineering degree from Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, entered ISRO in 2003 as a scientist. Her illustrious career includes diverse satellite projects, including communication and remote sensing satellites. This expertise has transformed India's capabilities in data collection and communication.
The significant milestones of her career include Mars Orbiter Mission and Chandrayaan-2. Her ingenious design of propulsion systems and imaging equipment exemplified her engineering prowess. Notably, her integral role in the Chandrayaan-2 and Mangalyaan missions underscores her versatility and indelible contributions.
Dr. V. R. Lalithambika
Dr. V. R. Lalithambika, a stalwart since 1988, carved her niche in the realm of Advanced Launcher Technologies. Her journey with ISRO commenced at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), where she joined as a young engineer. Over the years, she led a team that designed rocket control and guidance systems, an integral aspect of mission success. Her expertise spans over a hundred space missions, reflecting her adeptness in engineering and leadership.