K Sivan, now Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, who has been named the next Secretary of Space Department and Chairman of Space Commission and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), is a native of Tarakkanvilai in Kanyakumari district. "He never went to any tuition or coaching classes". Sivan will also be overseeing the launch of the refurbished PSLV on Friday.
He studied in government schools in Tarakkanvilai and at neighbouring Valangumaravilai in Tamil medium.
"My father had to sell about a quarter of an acre to send me to MIT", Sivan said.
Hailing from Nagercoil in Tamil Nadu, Sivan is an alumnus of Madras Institute of Technology, from where he graduated in Aeronautical Engineering in 1980. He took his ME in Aerospace Engineering from IISc, Bangalore in 1982.More news: Compounds essential for life found on two ancient meteorites
The newly appointed ISRO chairman has also played a key role in developing the indigenous Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle MK II, and was part of the team that ideated on the Swadeshi space shuttle (a reusable launch vehicle). ISRO Satellite Centre Director M Annadurai had recently said the launch of 28 satellites from overseas and three Indian satellites during the mission would mark the roll out of the 100th satellite by the space agency.
Asked if he expected the elevation, he said "I did not expect it".
In 2014, he received Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) from Sathyabama University, Chennai and Shri Hari Om Ashram Prerit Dr Vikram Sarabhai Research award in 1999.
Dr Sivan is one of the few scientists at ISRO with knowledge of every department of the organisation.More news: Chris Brown Could Be Prosecuted Over Exotic Pet Monkey
Sivan succeeds A S Kiran Kumar to the top post.
Sivan's appointment comes ahead of Friday's scheduled launch of 710 kg Cartosat-2 Series, Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV C-40) for earth observation along with 30 co-passenger satellites from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.
The appointment is for three years, according to approval issued by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet.More news: Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic in same half in Australian Open