K Sivan: The man who led the Moon mission

K Sivan: The man who led the Moon mission

India's most ambitious Moon Mission, Chandrayaan-2 might have stumbled a bit in its final hurdle. But standing rock solid behind the project, even certifying it a 'near-100% success,' one man made everyone at Isro hold their heads high with pride: Kailasavadivoo Sivan.

The lost contact with the Lander did break Sivan's heart. But even in his welled-up eyes, Sivan's passionate pursuit of the mission's success was visible. It was just another reminder of his steadfast growth to glory from a humble Tamilnadu farmer's abode.

Leading a mission that would one day shake up the world was not on Sivan's horizon when he turned his family's first college graduate decades ago.

Born on April 14, 1957 in a Tamilnadu village, Sivan's first brush with education was in a Tamil medium school. Even as he dreamt big, Sivan remained rooted. It is said he wore footwear for the first time only when he ventured into the Madras Institute of Technology.

Sivan joined Isro in 1982, earned his Master’s degree in aerospace engineering from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, before getting attached to the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), India’s space workhorse.

His passionate espousal of cryogenic engine development earned him the title 'Rocket Man.' By then, he had become director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram.

Appointed Isro Chairman in January 2018, Sivan knew exactly where to look for a successful Chandrayaan-2 launch: The GSLV Mk III, a vehicle that runs on cryogenic engines.