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What Links India’s Chandrayaan Missions to a TN Village? This Brilliant Scientist!

In its maiden attempt, India became the first Asian nation to reach the Mars orbit, and the first nation in the world to do so in its first attempt. One man who held it all together and made us proud is Dr Mayilswamy Annadurai.

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In India, unless it is a cricketer, retirement is an event that usually draws no attention. Even if you are the man who literally put India on the moon.

The Better India is proud to honour Dr Mylswamy Annadurai – popularly known as ‘moon man’, as he retires at the end of the month.

Dr Annadurai is an Indian aerospace engineer who has held a number of posts in his 36-year career with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), including the Directorship of the ISRO Satellite Centre.

India’s Moon Man
Photo Source: Wikipedia

Dr Annadurai oversaw the design, development and testing aspects of the Chandrayaan-2 mission, which comprises an Orbiter, Lander and Rover. That apart, he was also the mission director of the Chandrayaan-1 mission, having successfully overseen its launch in 2008, according to a report in Bangalore Mirror.

Not just the moon, but Mars as well. On September 24, 2014, India achieved an incredible feat in the space technology field. In its maiden attempt, India became the first Asian nation to reach the Mars orbit, and the first nation in the world to do so in its first attempt. One man who held it all together and made us proud is Dr Mayilswamy Annadurai.

In 2016, Dr Annadurai was honoured with the Padma Shri for his outstanding contribution in the field of space technology.

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Diamond in the rough

The eldest of five siblings, Annadurai grew up in Kothawady, a village about 25 kms from Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu. His father was a teacher at a primary school, earning about Rs 120 a month. Using available resources wisely was something that Annadurai learnt rather early on in life.

A report published in The Weekend Leader, suggests that Annadurai kept his books and clothes in great condition so that his sibling could use the same. Annadurai was always the top of his class. He was a district topper in his SSLC examinations and then went to become a college topper at the Nallamuthu Gounder Mahalingam College in Pollachi, Coimbatore.

Annadurai has been listed among the 100 Global thinkers of 2014 and tops the innovator’s list. He has received more than 50 awards that include, the ISRO Merit Award in 2009; Laurels for Team Achievement Chandrayaan-1, International Academy of Astronautics in Beijing in 2013; and the Padma Shri in 2016.

Alongside all his professional achievements, the 10th standard science textbooks of the Tamil Nadu education board also carry chapters of his illustrious works.

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ISRO has also emerged as a global leader in satellite launches, and Dr Annadurai’s hand is visible in the scientific and commercial success of ISRO in this field. From launching single bulky satellites weighing tons, advancements in technology have enabled launching multiple satellites weighing a few hundred kilogrammes that lower costs and increase launch efficiency. Dr Annadurai, as the Director of the ISRO Satellite Centre, has been involved in developing this strategy within the organisation.

As he draws curtains on an illustrious career, we thank him for his contributions in making India better and wish him a peaceful and happy retired life.

(Edited by Shruti Singhal)

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