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ISRO And the Unsung Gold Mines of Kerala

ISRO And the Unsung Gold Mines- I took it upon myself to discover another accomplishment to acclaim while the country was celebrating the achievement of the Chandrayaan-3 landing on the south pole of the moon. I did this by letting everyone know that the major scientists on the lunar mission team were alums of two underappreciated engineering schools in Kerala. I put “Worth applauding” on X. Dr. Somanath, the head of @ISRO, attended the TKM College of Engineering in Kollam, Kerala, while many of his coworkers attended the College of Engineering in Thiruvananthapuram (CET).

At least eight of his other coworkers attended the College of Engineering, (CET) Thiruvananthapuram, while ISRO chairman S. Somanath attended TKM College of Engineering, Kollam. While CET, founded in 1939 as the first engineering college in the then Travancore State, has maintained its record and repute as the top engineering college in the state of Kerala, Somanath’s institution was founded in 1956 by successful Muslim cashew merchant Thangal Kunju Musliar (abbreviated soon enough to TKM).

ISRO And the Unsung Gold Mines

As some of the typical sarcastic critics on the X platform (previously Twitter) observed, this wasn’t simply local chauvinism. My aim was a little broader: I wanted to stress that Chandrayaan-3’s achievement provides a fantastic opportunity to honour the graduates of underappreciated engineering institutes all around India. The landing of Chandrayaan-3, particularly four years after the disaster of Chandrayaan-2 (which crashed onto the lunar surface), was attributed to individuals from far less prestigious educational backgrounds, I contended. Indians are understandably and legitimately enamoured with the IITs.

At least seven other CET engineers contributed to the success of Chandrayaan 3: Mohana Kumar, the mission director for mechanical, Athula, the electronics lead, Satheesh, the assistant mission director for mechanical, Mohan, and Shora. In actuality, as a kind journalist pointed out, I had forgotten about an eighth person who wasn’t included in the image I tweeted: ISRO Divisional Head Binny TR, another CET product. I concluded by saying, “Let’s honour the alumni of underappreciated engineering institutions who devote themselves to serving the public good and who form the basis of governmental organisations like ISRO. CETians brought us to the moon while IITians headed to Silicon Valley.

ISRO And the Unsung Gold Mines

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ISRO And the Unsung Gold Mines

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ISRO And the Unsung Gold Mines of Kerala

This is not meant to belittle the prestigious IITs, which have earned a solid reputation on a worldwide scale. Our national attention has been diverted from the “second tier” of engineering colleges in “Tier Two” towns and cities across India, which are thought of as islands of greatness amid a sea of mediocrity. Yes, there are some subpar engineering institutions in the nation, and the AICTE orders the closure of a handful of them each year. But reputable universities like TKM and CET, despite their lack of national recognition, continue to produce a variety of engineers despite the odds, sometimes without recognition or appreciation from those outside of their immediate catchment area.

Since their founding, CET and TKM have consistently been among the top choices for any aspiring engineering student from Kerala, although they hardly ever draw applicants from beyond the state. However, they provide a practical choice for high-quality education in small-town India, and they are responsible for producing the core members of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), including its director.

India joined an exclusive group of countries with Chandrayaan-3’s successful soft landing on the moon; only four other countries (the US, the Soviet Union, and China) have accomplished the feat. Three days after a Russian attempt crashed dreadfully onto the moon’s surface, ISRO’s accomplishment received widespread acclaim and was hailed by eminent foreign media outlets as a watershed moment for the nation’s space exploration and a significant boost to India’s profile and position as a leading spacefaring nation. To India’s credit, all was accomplished on a meagre budget of just Rs 615 crore, which is not only a tiny portion of what the US spent but also just about a third of what China spent on its own moon trip.

This wasn’t simply about “frugal innovation,” a subject in which India has grudgingly received praise from the rest of the world. The scientists at the space agency have achieved this historic feat while earning wages that are one-fifth of those of their peers in the industrialised world, as former ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair noted. Nair stated that one of the factors contributing to ISRO scientists’ ability to come up with affordable options for space exploration may be their low pay. Nair said that no ISRO scientist is a millionaire; they lead quite typical life in low circumstances. They are fervent and committed to their cause instead of being overly concerned about the money. We rose to greater heights in this way,” Nair remarked.

In a cutthroat global job market, graduates from the IITs frequently seek for and win the highest-paying, handsomely compensated professions. Graduates from institutions like TKM and ISRO are happy to pass government exams for public-sector companies like ISRO, HAL, BHEL, and others, which have since become the strong foundation of India’s efforts to achieve excellence and industrial self-sufficiency. Innovation is ingrained in the culture of these organisations because they must develop their own answers rather than relying on pricey materials imported from the West. When compared to other countries’ space missions, our engineers were able to significantly cut their expenses because to the technology that was primarily developed at ISRO.

S Somanath, the head of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), studied mechanical engineering at TKM College of Engineering in Kollam from 1980 to 1985. There, he developed an early interest in propulsion and persuaded his professor to offer a course in the topic that had not previously been offered at TKM. He was hired for the space programme at the time the PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) project was beginning, which in turn catapulted him into ISRO.

Somanath obtained a master’s degree in aerospace engineering, dynamics, and control from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), the nation’s top centre for scientific research, over ten years after joining ISRO. He is now a specialist in the system engineering of launch vehicles and, according to the space agency, helped develop the PSLV and GSLV Mk-III (a heavy-lift launch vehicle) from ISRO’s propulsion stages to separation systems, vehicle integration, and integration procedures.

We can all learn something from this. As a cricket fan, I am all too aware of how, after expanding its recruiting sources to include “tier-two” cities and villages in India, a people that had previously been used to brave failures on the cricket pitch, started to anticipate victory all the time. We discovered them in locations without exclusive cricket clubs; their talent finally started to be recognised, and they had the “fire in the belly” to work harder for their success. These cricketers came from humble backgrounds and had never been within sniffing distance of elite educational institutions or fancy cricket facilities. Similar statements might be made about any national undertaking. We make up 17% of the world’s population, which also means we have 17% of the skill, intelligence, and bravery in the world.


In conclusion, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is an unsung gold mine in the field of space exploration and research. Despite operating with a significantly smaller budget compared to other space agencies, ISRO has achieved remarkable milestones and made significant contributions to scientific discovery and technological advancements. From launching successful Mars and Moon missions to developing indigenous satellite navigation systems, ISRO has continually demonstrated its capabilities and commitment to pushing the boundaries of space exploration.

The dedicated team of scientists and engineers at ISRO work tirelessly to overcome challenges and achieve success, often with limited resources. Their dedication and perseverance have earned them global recognition and respect within the scientific community. As ISRO continues to strive for excellence, it is clear that their impact on space exploration will only continue to grow, solidifying their status as an invaluable asset in the global pursuit of knowledge beyond Earth’s boundaries.

ISRO And the Unsung Gold Mines FAQ’S

Who was the first chairman of the ISRO?

Dr. Vikram Sarabhai who was the first chairman of ISRO, his pursuit of scientific excellence and deep commitment to advancing India's space capabilities laid the foundation for ISRO's success story.

What is the salary of ISRO chief?

As per reports, the salary of ISRO's chairman, S. Somanath, is around INR 2.5 lakh per month.

What is the highest paid job in ISRO?

The highest-paying job at ISRO Satellite Center is a Scientific Officer with a salary of ₹18.9 Lakhs per year. The top 10% of employees earn more than ₹12 lakhs per year. The top 1% earn more than a whopping ₹36.70 lakhs per year.

Which scientist is highest salary?

By median salary, the highest-paid scientist is physicist. Physicists investigate the properties of matter, energy and time.

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