1972 - M.Tech - Aerospace Engineering Distinguished Professor @ Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre
Dr Ramakrishnan, former Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre at Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), is one of the key architects of the Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) program. He is noted for his decisive role in enhancing the performance of PSLV through systematic upgrading and evolving robust operational protocol to ensure sustained vehicle reliability and mission success. His major work has been in the areas of Propulsion Systems Development, Launch Vehicle Engineering and Project management. In recognition of his outstanding contributions, he received ‘Padma Shri’ in the field of Science & Engineering in 2003 from the Government of India. After 42 years of dedicated service, he recently retired from the post of the Director, VSSC in June 2014. Subsequently, he is conferred with Vikram Sarabhai Distinguished Professorship at the Department of Space.
Dr Ramakrishnan joined ISRO in August 1972 as a member of the SLV-3 Project team responsible for developing the first Indian Satellite Launch Vehicle. When this was successfully accomplished, he was inducted into the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle Programme (PSLV) in 1983 where he played a major role in the development of liquid propulsion stages, vehicle engineering and system integration tasks for PSLV developmental flights. He was designated as Project Director in 1996 to lead the PSLV Continuation Program. In this capacity, he functioned as Mission Director for PSLV C1, C2, C3 and C4 missions and successfully accomplished the first multi-satellite deployment, as well as the first GTO mission using PSLV. After serving about two decades in PSLV programme, in 2002 he was entrusted with the development of the next generation launcher GSLV Mk-III (LVM3) and as the first Project Director, he steered the programme through the most crucial phases of design, engineering and realization of first-off hardware.
His proven abilities and leadership qualities saw him being elevated as Director (Projects) at VSSC in 2007, where Dr Ramakrishnan played a vital role in the much acclaimed PSLV-C11/Chandrayan-I mission, which was recognized by a Team Achievement Award from the International Academy of Astronautics. From June 2010 to December 2012, he functioned as Director, Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC), and led the LPSC team in carrying out failure analysis on the first flight test of the indigenous Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS) in GSLV-D3 mission. He chaired the Design Review Team for cryo propulsion system, and played a lead role in the realization of the cryogenic engine and stage for the subsequent GSLV-D5 mission which successfully validated the Indian CUS in January 2014.
In January 2013, Dr Ramakrishnan was appointed as the Director of VSSC, the lead Centre for Launch Vehicle Development at ISRO. He was actively involved in the planning and execution of the recent PSLV-C25/MOM mission to Mars by ISRO, and functioned as an expert reviewer for the spacecraft propulsion system design and operations.
In recognition of Dr Ramakrishnan’s intensive and extensive role and contributions leading to significant accomplishments of India’s space program, IIT Madras and its alumni are proud to confer upon him this award.