On Tuesday, ISRO Scientist V R Lalithambika was awarded France’s highest civilian award — Légion d'Honneur.

Lalithambika is the former director, the Directorate of the Human Spaceflight Programme, ISRO. Her career has spanned extensive work in advanced launch vehicle technology.

She has also worked on various ISRO rockets. One among these was the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) — a medium-lift launch vehicle designed by ISRO.

During Lalithambika’s tenure as Director of the Human Spaceflight Programme in 2018, she played an instrumental role in India’s Gaganyaan project.

She also played a vital role in the signing of two joint agreements between France and India’s space programmes.

French Ambassador Thierry Mathou called her a “trailblazer” in space technology.

The award, Légion d'Honneur, was created in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte and is the highest civilian award given by the French Republic for outstanding service to France.