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Chandrayaan-3 Hero S. Somanath, 15 Other ISRO Scientists Studied at Muslim-run Engineering College in Kerala

– Mohd Naushad Khan

The hero of Chandrayaan-3 and ISRO Chairman S. Somanath

Needless to say, the landing of Chandrayaan-3 on the surface of the moon was a historic moment for India and the entire world. It was also a proud moment for Kerala’s Muslim-run TKM College of Engineering when they watched live the historic success of their alumnus, the hero of Chandrayaan-3 and ISRO Chairman S. Somanath. Another milestone for this institution, which no one has talked about, is that apart from S. Somanath, 15 other alumni of this institution were part of the Chandrayaan launching team.

The College was set up by a Muslim businessman – Thangal Kunju Musaliar in 1958. It is an Aided autonomous institution and the college is affiliated to APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University, Kerala.

Dr Sudheer, who is in-charge of Alumni affairs of this prestigious institution, while recalling the historic moment, said, “It is a great success personally for me and the entire institution. It was a proud moment for all of us including management, teachers and students to watch live from the campus the historic landing of the Chandrayaan-3. All were in jubilant mood, clapping and enjoying every moment of it. They shared greeting and congratulated each other on this occasion. It was indeed a proud moment for the entire college and the people of the Kerala to watch their alumni leading the way towards historic success.”

He further said, “It was very pleasant to hear him speaking about how this institution had shaped him and contributed towards growth of his wholesome personality when we had invited him to honour him after he became the chairman of ISRO.  His speech on that occasion was very heartening for all of us. He also talked about the quality teaching by his teachers that made him a promising engineer. Somanath mentioned during his speech about his teacher Prof. George who was very particular about perfectness in drawing.”

According to him, he used to ask students to draw a line or make an angle without using scale and he demonstrated it as well. That was the kind of perfection he demanded from the students. According to him, when you draw a 30-degree angle without a protractor, it should be 30-degree angle. As a result of it, he became so perfect that even in ISRO he used to draw lines without any scale with perfectness.

“Somanath also talked about Prof. Albin who was very strict. While recalling, he said when he submitted his project, he literally fired him a lot, saying this is how a project is prepared and his is how a project is submitted. Ultimately, his strictness helped him to become a perfectionist later on in his professional career. He also recalled Prof. Kutty who was an expert in Thermodynamics. Somanath was not from an affluent family but Somanath was his favourite student and he gave books free to Somanath. He said during his speech that Thermodynamic books were given to him by Prof. Kutty. To him, Prof. Kutty was a mentor and he shaped his persona. There were a lot of professors who touched his life during his studies in our institution,” said Sudheer.

“Once, he was trying to do a project connected to Hydraulics Laboratories and five students along with Somanath at that point of time had demanded 1.5 lakh from the management and the management of our institution, without any inquiry and question, gave that amount and then it turned out to be a successful project and everyone was happy to have helped them at that point of time. It was a huge support for students in 1980s,” he said.

On invitation to Chandrayaan-3 heroes to inspire students, he said, “Definitely, we will invite Somanath and we have a list of 16 scientists who have studied in our institution and were part of the Chandrayaan team and were equal partners in creating history. We will invite them all to share their contribution and inspire our students.”

On what the institution would like to demand from him during his next visit, he said, “We already have MoU with ISRO and we are helping in many projects and research. Our students are doing research together with ISRO.”


No. Name Designation Batch Responsibility in Chandrayaan-3

S Somanath
Chairman ISRO

Dr Suresh Kumar C
Dy. Director SRQA 1986


Responsible for Quality of propulsion system

Sathish Kumar B
GD, CSC 1986


Responsible for the control components of propulsion system

Ramesh G
GD, MME 1986


Responsible for the realization cryogenic engines

Dr. John Tharakan
GD, PRS 1986


Responsible for the thermal & CFD analysis of propulsion system

Philip T M
GD, CSC 1989


Responsible for the control components of propulsion system

Thomas George
GH, SRQA 1990


Responsible for the quality of control components

Paul P George
GD, SRQA 1991


Responsible for the quality of cryogenic engine and stage

Dr. Bijukumar K S
PD C25 1995


Responsible for the delivery of C25 stage and propulsion model of Chandrayaan Lander

Ajith Sharma B
DPD, propulsion Chandrayaan 3 1995


Responsible for the delivery of LAM engines and control thrusters for Lander

Pradeep Kumar J
DH SPSG 1995


Responsible for the tank and fluid circuit of lander

Dilip V
DH CSC 1997


Responsible for the umbilical system of C25 stage

Dr Praveen R S
DPD, LVM3 1997

MTech, Cryogenics

Responsible for the delivery of liquid stages to LVM3

Manoj T K
Scientist, SRQA 1998


Responsible for the quality aspects of cryogenic stage mechanical systems

Vidya Shenoy
Scientist, OSDG 1999


Responsible for the software of Chandrayaan lander

Unnikrishnan K P
Scientist, SRQA 2007


Responsible for the quality aspects of cryogenic stage fluid systems



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