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Shri. Lazar T Chitilappilly

1983 - B.Tech - Aerospace Engineering Project Director, ABPP @ VSSC / ISRO Trivandrum

Shri Lazar T. Chitilappilly graduated from IIT Madras with a Bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering in 1983. In 1985, he obtained his Master’s from IISc Bangalore. As a scientist-engineer at VSSC / ISRO from 1985, he has been contributing to the field of propulsion for more than three decades with his landmark work on various aspects of High-Speed Air Breathing Propulsion (HSABP) covering design, modeling/analysis, manufacturing, system integration, testing and flying. As Project Director for Air Breathing Propulsion since 2006, he has played an instrumental role in the execution of the project, one that has made the nation proud.

In the early 2000’s, when ISRO embarked on the ambitious program of propulsion, Shri Lazar was appointed as Associate Project Director. He went on to become the leader of the Air Breathing Propulsion Project team, a team that successfully flight-tested the Scramjet engine on August 28, 2016 at a hypersonic speed of Mach 6, achieving supersonic ignition and combustion in flight. This was a very challenging program in light of being a late starter compared to the U.S. and to Russia, and given the sensitive nature of the dual-use technology. In order to successfully navigate the associated hurdles, Shri Lazar guided his team to build a strong research network with the IIT’s and IISc, thereby giving the program the required forward momentum.

Shri Lazar has also contributed significantly to the development of the scramjet, a perfect example of a complex system which has taken over 50 years of earnest research efforts worldwide, involving vast investment of financial and human resources, to create a successful technology. With this success, India joined an elite club of only three countries (U.S., Russia and Australia) that have acquired an advanced and closely-guarded technology with enormous potential for low-cost access to space and hypersonic global travel. Shri Lazar has proved his leader’s mettle in guiding and motivating his team to this remarkable achievement over long years of commitment and hard work in the face of scarce resources. The “Scramjet Engine Flight Experiment” team won the ISRO Team Excellence Award in 2016.

Since 2007, he has also been a part of the ISRO-IIT Space Technology Cell Joint Policy Committee at IIT Madras, and has played a key role in the annual selection of projects to be taken up collaboratively, and in ongoing review of the projects. He is a recipient of the ISRO Performance Excellence Award and IISc Aerospace Engineering Platinum Jubilee Award for Distinguished Alumnus.

For his outstanding contribution to scramjet propulsion technology, IIT Madras and its alumni are proud to confer this award upon Shri Lazar T. Chitilappilly.

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