Comprehensive Roster of ISRO Chairpersons from 1963 to 2023: The Latest Updates

Current Affairs

Within this piece, you will discover an extensive compilation detailing the individuals who have held the position of Chairman at ISRO, spanning the years from 1963 to 2023, within the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).

India’s Space Agency, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), boasts its headquarters situated in Bengaluru. ISRO operates under the purview of the Department of Space, and it directly reports to this parent organization. The Chairman of ISRO concurrently serves as an executive within the Department of Space. Over the span of five decades, from 1963 to 2023, ISRO has been led by a succession of forward-thinking leaders who have played a pivotal role in steering India’s space exploration and technological initiatives.

These visionary chairpersons have presided over ISRO’s remarkable journey, guiding it from its modest origins to international recognition as a prominent space agency. Their stewardship has been marked by noteworthy achievements, including satellite launches, interplanetary missions, and the cultivation of valuable global partnerships.

Catalog of ISRO Chairpersons spanning the years 1963 to 2023.

S.No.ISRO ChairmanTenureLength of Term
1Dr. Vikram Sarabhai1963 to 19719 years
2Prof. M.G.K. MenonJan. 1972 to Sep. 19729 months
3Prof. Satish Dhawan1972 to 198412 years
4Prof. U.R. Rao1984 to 199410 years
5Dr. k. kasturirangan1994 to 20039 years
6G. Madhavan Nair2003 to 20096 years
7Dr. k. Radhakrishnan2009 to 20145 years
8Dr. Shailesh Nayak2015 to 201511 days
9A.S. Kirar Kumar2015 to 20183 years
10Dr. K. SivanJan. 2018 to Jan. 20223 years
11S. Somnath12 Jan. 2022 to PresentIncumbent
ISOR Chairman Lists.

Vikram Sarabhai (1963 to 1972)

He holds the esteemed title of the pioneer behind India’s Space Program. Vikram Sarabhai founded three notable establishments:

  1. The Physical Exploration Laboratory (PEL) located in Ahmedabad.
  2. The Indian Institute of Management (IIM) situated in Ahmedabad as well.
  3. The Vikram Sarabhai Space Institute, nestled in Thiruvananthapuram.
  4. Additionally, he played a pivotal role in the creation of the Faster Breeder Test Reactor in Kalpakkam.

M.G.K. Menon (Jan-Sep 1972)

His reputation was built upon his groundbreaking research in the realm of cosmic rays and particle physics, specifically focusing on the energetic interplays among fundamental particles. An exceptional feat he achieved was fostering the growth of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai. He not only secured the prestigious Abdus Salam Award but also held a distinguished membership in the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. In late 2008, a celestial body, asteroid 7564 Gokumenon, was bestowed with his name in a gesture of honor.

Satish Dhawan (1972-1984)

In 1972, he assumed the role of Chairman at ISRO, following in the footsteps of Vikram Sarabhai. His leadership paved the way for the development of vital systems such as INSAT and PSLV within India.

He stood as a preeminent figure in turbulence and boundary layer research, earning recognition as a pioneer in experimental fluid dynamics exploration within the Indian scientific community.

Udupi Ramachandra Rao (1984-1994)

In 1972, he assumed accountability for spearheading the introduction of satellite technology in India. His prominent role extended to the conceptualization of India’s inaugural satellite, ‘Aryabhata,’ which took form in 1975.

Moreover, he held pivotal positions as the chairman of the Governing Council for both the Physical Research Laboratory in Ahmedabad and the Nehru Planetarium in Bengaluru. Additionally, he served as the esteemed chancellor of the Indian Institute for Space Science and Technology. He earned the moniker ‘The Satellite Man of India’ for his notable contributions to the field.

Krishna Swami Kasturirangan (1994-2003)

During his tenure, ISRO experienced numerous significant achievements in the realm of PSLV and GSLV programs. Furthermore, he served as the Project Director for India’s initial pair of experimental earth observation satellites, BHASKARA-I and II.

Additionally, he held the position of director at the National Institute of Advanced Sciences, located in Bangalore. His contributions have earned him prestigious recognition, including three esteemed civilian accolades: the Padma Shri, the Padma Bhushan, and the Padma Vibhushan.

Shri G. Madhavan Nair (2003-2009)

Chandrayaan-1 embarked on its mission under the guidance of Madhavan Nair, who presided over the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) during a period marked by 25 triumphant missions. In recognition of his remarkable contributions, Nair received the prestigious Padma Vibhushan award in 2009. Beyond his role at ISRO, he assumed the position of Chairman for the Board of Governors at the Indian Institute of Technology, Patna. Additionally, he held the esteemed positions of Chairman of the Space Commission and Chairman of the Governing Body for the Antrix Corporation.

K. Radhakrishnan (2009-2014)

The inaugural interplanetary endeavor of India, known as the ‘Mangalyaan’ mission, embarked on its journey with the guidance of Dr. K. Radhakrishnan at the helm. From 2000 to 2005, he served a concise tenure as the Director of the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) within the Ministry of Earth Sciences.

Shri A S Kiran Kumar (2015-2018)

“He has achieved remarkable success in overseeing the successful launch of India’s Chandrayaan-1 and the Mars Orbiter Mission. Additionally, he played a pivotal role in the development of the Indian National Regional Navigation System (INRVS) and GAGAN. His exceptional contributions were acknowledged with the prestigious Padma Sri award, India’s fourth-highest civilian honor, in 2014. Furthermore, he held the position of director at the Space Application Centre in Ahmedabad.”

K. Sivan (2018-2022)

During his time in office, he oversaw the successful introduction of Chandrayaan-2 and the substantial advancement of India’s human spaceflight initiative. Additionally, he held the position of director at both the Vikram Sarabhai Space Center and the Liquid Propulsion Systems Center.

S. Somnath (Jan.2022 to present)

“S. Somnath assumes the esteemed position of the eleventh chairperson within ISRO, a decision endorsed by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC).

In the past, Somnath has held leadership roles at both the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre and the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre. Furthermore, he has garnered recognition for his pioneering work in the realm of launch vehicle design, with a particular focus on enhancing launch vehicle systems.”

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