Distinguished space scientist Alur Seelin Kiran Kumar Wednesday took over as secretary of the department of space and chairman of the Space Commission and the state-run ISRO here.
Prior to his appointment to the top post, the 62-year-old Kiran Kumar was director of the Indian Space Research Organisation’s Space Applications Centre (SAC) in Ahmedabad in Gujarat.
He succeeded K. Radhakrishnan who retired from the high-profile job Dec 31 on superannuation.
With four decades of service in the space agency’s satellite instruments and applications domains, Kiran Kumar contributed to the design and development of electro-optical imaging sensors for airborne, low Earth orbit and geostationary orbit spacecraft starting from the Bhaskara television payload to Mars colour camera, thermal infrared imaging spectrometer and methane sensor for the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM).
“Kiran Kumar was instrumental in steering the MOM towards the Red Planet and its insertion in its maiden attempt Sep 24, 2014. He has also made significant contributions for the observation strategy encompassing land, ocean, atmospheric and planetary studies,” the space agency said in a statement here.
An alumnus of National College in Bengaluru, Kiran Kumar graduated in physics in 1971, obtained master’s degree in electronics from Bangalore University in 1973 and M.Tech in physical engineering from the renowned Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in 1975.
Kiran Kumar began his career in ISRO by joining the SAC in 1975 and became its director in March 2012.
“At SAC, Kiran Kumar steered the design, development and realisation of scientific instruments and application activities of Earth observation, communication, navigation, space science and planetary exploration,” the statement added.
A recipient of many national and international awards, including Padma Shri in 2014, Kiran Kumar has won the International Academy of Astronautics’ laurels for Cartosat (remote sensing satellite) and the country’s maiden lunar mission Chandrayaan-1.
Kiran Kumar is a fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineering, the Indian Society of Remote Sensing, the Institution of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineer, and the Indian Meteorological Society.
He is also a member of the International Academy of Astronautics.