Dr. Kailasavadivoo Sivan, Secretary, Department of Space and Chairman, Space Commission has relentlessly worked in the field of Aeronautical engineering, specifically in the area of Launch Vehicle technology for the past 37 years to make India self-reliant in assured access to Space.
Born on 14th April, 1957 in a farmer family in Sarakkalvilai village of Kanyakumari District, he completed his primary education in Tamil medium school. After completing BSc Mathematics from Madurai University, He joined Madras Institute of Technology to pursue Btech., Aeronautics. Thereafter, he completed his M.E. in Aerospace Engineering from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and PhD in Aerospace engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai.
He joined, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre on 29 October 1982 and since then has played a key role in the design and development of ISRO’s launch vehicle programme. His major contributions are in reviving GSLV programme after back-to-back failure and leading the Flight testing of SCRAMJET engine as well as technology demonstration flight of re-usable launch vehicle (RLV-TD).
He is the chief architect of 6D trajectory simulation software SITARA and Day of Launch-Wind Biasing (DOL-WB) strategy for ISRO’s launch vehicles which are used in all ISRO’s launch vehicle missions.
The Gaganyaan Programme was approved under his leadership. A new vertical on Human Spaceflight was added into ISRO’s scope of activities and a new Human Spaceflight centre was established at Bangalore for managing human spaceflight programme.
He strongly believes that technology leaders of tomorrow have to be motivated and trained today. Yuvika summer vacation training programme targeting high school students was initiated to motivate students to take up science as a career option. In addition, he regularly interacts with student community for improving the awareness on space programme as well as motivating students for taking up career in R&D for National development.
Dr. K Sivan is a Fellow of Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE), Aeronautical Society of India (AeSI), Systems Society of India (SSI) and Indian Systems Society for Science and Engineering (ISSE), Institution of Electronics & Telecommunication Engineers (IETE) and Indian National Science Academy.
He has received numerous awards in recognition of his contributions. Some of the major awards are ISRO award for outstanding achievement for the year 2016, Shri Hari Om Ashram Prerit Dr. Vikram Sarabhai Research award for the year 1999, ISRO merit award for the year 2007, Dr. Biren Roy Space science award for the year 2011, The Distinguished Alumnus Award 2013 from MIT Alumni Association, Chennai and The Distinguished Alumnus Award 2017 from IIT-B, Mumbai and IISc Distinguished Alumnus Award 2018. Besides this he has been conferred with Honaris Causa from many prestigious universities. Received Lokmanya Tilak Award-2018 from Lokmanya Tilak Smarak Trust, Pune. “Nav Yug Chanakya Puruskar” from Hindu Economic Forum, Kochi and ‘Vigyan Ratna Award’ from Panjab University in 2019.
Dr. Sivan has received international accolades for his contribution in space technology viz IEEE Simon Ramo Medal from IEEE; 2020 Allan D. Emil Memorial Award by the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) and 2020 Von Karman Award of International Academy of Astronautics.