Dr G Madhavan Nair
Dr G Madhavan Nair started his career in the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) in 1967. Since then, he has held various positions posting illustrious milestones on his way. He rose to the position of Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in 1999 and finally to the position of Chairman ISRO in 2003. During his tenure of six years as Chairman, ISRO/Secretary, DOS, 25 successful missions were accomplished.
While working as Head, Payload Integration Section at TERLS in 1967, Dr G Madhavan Nair was chosen by Dr Vikram Sarabhai for hands on training on the integration and launch of Centaure rockets at CNES France. On return, he has been one of the key persons of the pioneering SLV3 project team, in charge of the electronic integration and check out the vehicle where he worked in close association with stalwarts like Dr APJ Abdul Kalam and late Dr S Srinivasan. Later as Project Director, PSLV and Programme Director, Integrated Launch Vehicle Programme, Dr Madhavan Nair played a decisive role in the development of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle and Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle. In 1995, he became the Director of the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre of ISRO where he significantly contributed to the development of indigenous cryo-stage. In September 1999, Dr Madhavan Nair became the Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, the lead Centre of ISRO for launch vehicle development and continued in that post till 2003 when he was chosen to become the Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation and Secretary, DOS and Chairman, Space Commission.
During his tenure as Chairman, he has taken initiatives towards development of futuristic technologies to enhance the space systems capabilities as well as to reduce the cost of access to space. The application programmes such as tele-education and telemedicine developed by ISRO could meet the needs of the society at large. The Village Resource Centres established through satellite connectivity, which enabled farmers to get information on important aspects like land use/land cover, soil and ground water prospects, farming system, action plans based on weather, community specific advice on soil and water conservation, etc, was yet another move to improve the quality of life of the people in the rural areas.
As Chairman, Space Commission, Dr Madhavan Nair has been responsible for chalking out the future plan for space research in the country. In the international arena, Dr G Madhavan Nair has led the Indian delegations for bilateral cooperation and negotiations with many space agencies and countries like France, Russia, Brazil, Israel, etc. He has also been instrumental in working out mutually beneficial international cooperative agreements. Dr G Madhavan Nair has led the Indian delegation to the S&T Sub-Committee of United Nations Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN-COPUOS).
Born on October 31, 1943 at Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, Dr Madhavan Nair graduated in Engineering from Kerala University in 1966 and underwent training at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Bombay. He was conferred doctoral degrees by several universities and reputed institutions in India.
He is a fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineering, Astronautical Society of India, National Academy of Sciences, India, Indian Society for Non-Destruction Testing (ISNT)and Aeronautical Society of India, and member of the System Society of India, The nation honoured him with Padma Vibhushan in 2009 and Padma Bhushan in 1998. Dr Madhavan Nair has several other awards and honours to his credit.