Chennai: Eleven years ago it was the then Group Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) K Sivan ensured the success of the first lunar mission, Chandrayaan-1 in October 2008.
Term it as a sheer coincidence, it is Dr Sivan who is at the helm of affairs of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) heading the second moon mission, Chandrayaan-2 that would explore hitherto unexplored frontier--Moon's South Pole--which is all set for takeoff on Monday early morning from the spaceport of Sriharikota.
In an interview, Dr. Sivan, ahead of the challenging mission, in which the accuracy of the trajectory and soft landing on the moon was even more challenging, appeared calm and composed. Amid hectic preparations were going at the SHAR Range, Dr. Sivan said he was not tensed up.
"I am not tensed up. My family members also do not see any difference in me. But everybody knows Chandrayaan-2 mission is very important'', he said.
He said there was some level of anxiety even among his family members, considering the importance of the project.
In fact, it was Dr. Sivan that ensured the success of the first mission on October 22, 2008. On the eve of the launch, a leak was noticed during propellant filling and significant time of the countdown was lost.
About 23.5 tonnes of the total 25 tonnes of liquid propellants were filled in the second stage of the four-stage PSLV vehicle when the leak was noticed.
With only a little remained to be loaded, Dr. Sivan who was in charge of computer simulations did some quick calculations and said it was okay if no further oxidizer was loaded and the rocket was good to go and now the rest is history as the mission turned out to be a huge success.
With his hands full of ISRO preparing for the first manned mission Gaganyaan and setting up a space station, Dr. Sivan said ISRO trying to catch up with other space-faring nationals line US, Russia, and China was sheer incidental.
"All these years we had the vision of Vikram Sarabhai of using the space technology for the benefit of the common man and harnessing space technology for national development'', he said.
ISRO has developed the capability to build its own rockets and satellites to provide various services to people like communication, climate prediction, and others.
"We are now reaping the harvest of the seeds sown by Sarabhai. Now we have to sow the seeds for the future generation'', he added.