Chandrayaan-3: When PM Modi hugged, consoled emotional ex-ISRO chief after Chandrayaan-2 glitch
While all eyes are on the Chandrayaan-3 launch, visuals of PM Modi hugging and patting K Sivan are still fresh in many of our memories.
The Indian Space Research Organisation or ISRO is set to send Chandrayaan-3 to the far side of the Moon on Friday afternoon in a follow-up mission to its failed effort nearly four years ago to land a rover softly on the lunar surface. Chandrayaan-3 will take off from a launch pad in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh with an orbiter, a lander and a rover. It will embark on a journey lasting slightly over a month before landing on the Moon’s surface later in August.
While all eyes are on the Chandrayaan-3 launch, the visuals of Prime Minister Narendra Modi hugging and patting K Sivan, the former chief of ISRO, are still fresh in many of our memories.
Sivan was downcast after the space agency lost contact with Chandrayaan 2 lander ‘Vikram’ just when its descent to the Moon was initiated and despite words of motivation by Modi he could not fight back his tears.
In widely shared videos, Modi was seen hugging and consoling a teary-eyed Sivan outside the ISRO headquarters in Bengaluru in September 2020 after his address to the scientists and the nation. Modi too appeared emotional.
Addressing the scientists, Modi had said: “Last night, I understood your frame of mind, the look in your eyes said a lot. That is why I did not stay here for long. We might not have reached the lunar surface as planned... You came as close as you could, stay steady and look ahead. We are full of confidence when it comes to our space programme the best is yet to come.”
After his address, Modi went around shaking hands with scientists with words of encouragement, asking them to look ahead and not lose heart.
The ISRO’s plan to soft land Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram module on the Lunar surface did not go as per script, with the lander losing communication with ground stations during its final descent.
Addressing the scientists hours after the ISRO announced that it had lost communication with the lander, he also said the country’s determination to land on the Moon has become even stronger.
Who is K Sivan?
The ex-ISRO chief has had a very humble beginning as a son of a farmer who studied in a local government school in Tamil medium at Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu.
He has received various awards throughout his career, including Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) from Sathyabama University, Chennai in April 2014 and Shri Hari Om Ashram Prerit Dr Vikram Sarabhai Research award for 1999.