The Propulsion Module (PM) of the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft, which was initially intended for lunar operations, was successfully returned to Earth's orbit by ISRO after exceeding its lunar mission objectives, demonstrating India's ability to not only launch objects to the Moon but also bring them back.
Three from Himachal and one from Chandigarh are part of the Chandrayaan-3 mission
Many children might have dressed up as the former President of India, one of the pioneers of India’s nuclear mission, and ISRO scientist APJ Abdul Kalam in school, but few actually might have gotten to live the dream of being a scientist, like him.
Like APJ who hailed from Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu, the southernmost tip of peninsular India, and as PM Modi hailed in his Independence Day speech that tier 2 and tier 3 cities have been throwing up young achievers that too without any hunger for monetary benefits, here are four of these young men who were part of the ISRO team that successfully dispatched Chandrayaan-3 to the moon.
So when Prashuman from Nau Meel near Pandoh in Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh became a part of the ISRO team dealing with the cryogenic fuel engine of Chandrayan-3, his parents knew his maternal grandfather’s prophetic words had come true. He used to address Prashuman as ‘Kalam sahaab’ realising the potential of his mechanics-oriented mind. He had earned this epitaph not out of nowhere. “He would always try and find out the mechanism behind devices like toys, tricycle, lock and key, mobile phone, etc by opening them to know their mechanism,” says his mother Ritu Suman, a teacher.
A few kilometres away in another village Panjethi in the Talyahar area of Mandi district, Vijay Kumar Sen who studied in Navodaya Vidyalaya, Pandoh, and IEET, Baddi, under HP University, was also working hard at the same time when Prashuman was growing up. Vijay too joined ISRO in 2010 at the age of 21. His father refuses to divulge any details about Vijay and says, “As per the protocol we can’t speak.”
In yet another small village Baba Badoh in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, another young scientist Dr Anuj Chaudhary, who studied at Greenfields School, Nagrota, and then did his B Tech from Kurukshetra University was working in hostile conditions in his small village. “There was no road to our village. Nobody knew us before our son made us proud being part of the Chandrayan-3 mission,” says Sarita Kumari, Anuj’s mother who is a housewife and her husband an accountant in Delhi.
But Anuj had shown his intellectual skills right from his childhood. He always stood first in every exam, and the proud mother can’t thank his teachers enough.
In nearby Chandigarh, Nikhil Anand did his B Tech degree from Chandigarh University at Gharuan, Mohali, and M Tech from PEC and to fulfill his father’s desire also did an LLB degree. “Law was my choice and engineering was his passion and he went for the latter,” says Lallan Thakur, Nikhil’s father who is an advocate.
As Prashuman’s mother sums it up for mothers struggling with their little ones, “Primary education of every child must be very good. So it is the responsibility of teachers and as far as mothers are concerned, sometimes they have to give up their interests. I am enjoying my youth now after both my children have finished their studies,” says the radiant, simple, and youthful mother.
Citing ‘ISRO protocol’, the parents of the young scientists refused to divulge more details about what part of the mission they participated in.
As India still basks in the glory of the successful Chandrayan-3 mission, the mission Aditya L1 to the sun may give direction to several young scientists who would want to make their parents proud probably a decade or two later.