Bengaluru, December 31 : As we are entering into the new year 2015, ISRO bids farewell to its ambitious chief K Radhakrishnan at the end of 2014. Shailesh Nayak, secretary, ministry of earth sciences is new Ad-Hoc chairman of ISRO. He takes over from Dr K Radhakrishnan
It may be noted, Radhakrishnan's tenure ended in August and was extended by four months, till December 31, by the Government on functional grounds and in public interest.
Showering praise on its outgoing Chief, ISRO's official page said, An efficient engineer, magnificent manager, an impeccable institution builder; and an inspiring leader Dr.Radhakrishnan triumphantly led ISRO through many historic milestones in the last five years being at the helm of affairs.
Bidding farewell to the one who led me up to this planet. It was an honour to be a part of your team Dr Radhakrishnan.— ISRO's Mars Orbiter (@MarsOrbiter) December 31, 2014
He was conferred with Padma- Bhushan, the third highest Civilian Award in India, in 2014. A Distinguished Alumnus Awardee of both IIT Kharagpur and IIM Bangalore – he was recognised with several distinctions. Being in the top ten scientific personalities in 2014 by Nature Science Journal, The Allan D Emil Award of International Astronautical Federation are some of glimpses of his international recognition.
After completing his graduation in Electrical Engineering from Kerala University, he joined Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in 1972 and rose through the ranks, in brisk space. He was handpicked by Prof. Satish Dhawan – the then Chairman of ISRO, to control and monitor the Budget and Economic Analysis activities at ISRO Head Quarters. By then he had completed his post graduation from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. He bloomed to full glory at ISRO during 1981-2000 – in a period when he occupied several coveted positions like Project Director for establishment of Regional Remote Sensing Centers, Director of Budget and Economic Analyses, Program Director for National Natural Resource Management Systems and Mission Director of Integrated Mission of Sustainable Development and Deputy Director at the National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA), Hyderabad. Meanwhile he also completed his PhD from Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur.
During 2000-2005 he had a small stint at Ministry of Earth Science – where he established the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) and India’s Tsunami Warning Centre.
He came back to ISRO as Director of NRSA and went on to become the Director of VSSC, his alma-mater at ISRO. After delivering five consecutive successful PSLV missions including the PSLV-C11 that lofted Chandrayaan-1 and leading several crucial technology development at VSSC – he took over the reins of Indian Space Programme in November 2009; and the rest are matters of legend.
With the 12 successful PSLV missions, the successful GSLV with indigenous cryogenic stage, the Mars Orbiter Mission, the LVM-3 experimental flight with CARE module, the Six INSAT/GSAT satellites, three navigation Satellites and Six Earth Observation satellites (including RISAT-1, the first microwave imaging satellite) Dr. Radhakrishnan is leaving ISRO at its most glorified pedestal ever.
Team ISRO is determined –to strive harder to match the standard that he set and of course carry the organization to much higher level from here, describes ISRO's official facebook page.
The government had appointed a search committee headed by former Isro chairman U R Rao, but Nayak's appointment indicates that either the panel couldn't find a person or the government didn't go by the recommendation.
As Isro enters a crucial phase of planning manned missions and interplanetary exploration, scientists feel, the organisation needs a strong person at the helm, preferably someone who straddles rocket science and administrative skills.
"This seems to be an ad hoc measure," said a senior Isro scientist. "If the idea was to have an interim chairman, the incumbent could have been given a month's extension."