He has orbited the earth thrice

He has orbited the earth thrice

Adimurthy cycling to his office in Thiruvananthapuram

Much like Albert Einstein, the 63-year-old Associate Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, has been religously cycling his way to office, about 10 kms from home, and back for the past 20 years. Though he may have several competitors on this score, Adimurthy’s achievement when quantified might raise a few eyebrows. “In terms of the kilometres travelled, I would have cycled the circumference of the earth, that is about 40,000 kms, more than three times by now’’ says he as Deccan Herald caught up with the cycling enthusiast in front of the VSSC gates, on his way back home.

Adimurthy could have easily had an official conveyance all these years. However, he preferred to stick on to his childhood passion as cycling kept him eternally agile both physically and mentally to deal with pressures. “Cycling gives me great flexibility and the freedom to depend on none while working late,’’ the workaholic reveals. Adimurthy is credited with significant contributions in the areas of aerodynamics, flight dynamics, trajectory optimisation, parameter estimation, computational fluid dynamics, multidisciplinary design optimisation and space debris studies.

“Cycling comes with some free benefits like good health and fringe benefits like more savings. Of course, I do save a lot that way. However, I have donated a decent sum from the transport allowance I have saved over the years to a trust,’’ says he.

Born in Rajahmundry in Visakhapatnam district, Adimurthy did his schooling and college in Andhra Pradesh before joining Indian Institute of Science for his PhD programme.
However, he could continue for only one session there and moved on to IIT Kanpur following his teacher. His love for bicycles took wings in IIT Kanpur where he got an imported Rally cycle. “There were very complex personalities in IIT Kanpur that I lost the cycle on the campus,’’ he recalls. Over the years Adimurthy has had about three bicycles and is presently  riding his fourth cycle to office.

Despite his age, Adimurthy feels that he is perfectly at ease riding a bicycle and his health has also been reasonably good. He does have a Fiat car bought in 1987 but he hardly drives it and has left it to the care of his wife and children. His son Aditya is a fashion designer in Mumbai while daughter Rajitha is a commerce graduate.

Impressive record

Adimurthy is a distinguished visiting professor of the Indian National Academy of Engineers, a Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and as ISRO representative is the chairman of the Inter Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC), the body of space faring nations addressing  the issues of Space Debris. He was awarded the National Aeronautical Prize instituted by the Aeronautical Society of India in 2005, the 1997 Astronautical Society of India award  as well as the ISRO’s performance excellence award in 2006.

Dr Adimurthy has been associated with the moon mission right from its initial stage when the mission studies team was constituted under the leadership of K Kasturirangan in 1990. “I was member in charge of mission studies,’’ says he. Presently, he is also Dean of research programme at Indian Institute of Space Science & Technology.

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