K. Sivan

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K. Sivan
Official portrait
9th Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation
In office
15 January 2018 (2018-01-15) – 14 January 2022 (2022-01-14)
Preceded byA. S. Kiran Kumar
Succeeded byS. Somanath
12th Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre
In office
Preceded byM. C. Dathan
Succeeded byS. Somanath
Personal details
Kailasavadivoo Sivan

(1957-04-14) 14 April 1957 (age 66)
Mela Sarakkalvilai, Tamil Nadu, India

Sivan Kailasavadivu (born 14 April 1957) is an Indian aerospace engineer who served as the Secretary of the Department of Space and chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation and Space Commission.[1][2] He has previously served as the Director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Center and the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre.[3]

Early life[edit]

Sivan was born in Sarakkalvilai, near Nagercoil in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu state of India.[4] His parents are Kailasavadivu and mother Chellam.[5]


Sivan is son of a mango farmer and studied in a Tamil medium Government school in Mela Sarakkalvilai Village and later in Vallankumaranvilai in Kanyakumari district. He is the first graduate from his family.[6] Later Sivan graduated with a bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering from Madras Institute of Technology in 1980. He then got a master's degree in aerospace engineering from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore in 1982, and started working in ISRO.[7] He earned a doctoral degree in aerospace engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay in 2006. He is a Fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineering, the Aeronautical Society of India and the Systems Society of India.[8]


Sivan worked on the design and development of launch vehicles for Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Sivan joined ISRO in 1982 to participate on the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) Project. He was appointed as the director of ISRO's Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre on 2 July 2014.[9] He was conferred Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) from Sathyabama University, Chennai in April 2014.[10] On 1 June 2015, he became the Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre.[11]

Sivan was appointed the chief of ISRO in January 2018 and he assumed office on 15 January.[12] Under his chairmanship, ISRO launched Chandrayaan 2, the second mission to the Moon on 22 July 2019, of which Vikram lander and the Pragyan rover crashed; the orbiter was not affected and is still orbiting the Moon as of September 2023.[13]

On 30 December 2020, his chairmanship was extended by a year to January 2022. His earlier tenure was up to January 2021.[14]

On 25 January 2021, Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has registered a complaint against Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman and Secretary, Department of Space (DoS), K Sivan, over allegations of irregularities in recruiting his son in ISRO’s Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) in Valiamala, Thiruvananthapuram, by bypassing norms.[15]

Dr Sivan has been appointed as the Chairman of the Board of Governers at the Indian Institute of Technology, Indore. He will replace Deepak B P, whose term ended on 21 August 2023.[16]



  1. ^ "Renowned scientist Sivan K named new ISRO chairman". The Times of India. 10 January 2018. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  2. ^ "Sivan K named new ISRO chairman". The Economic Times. 10 January 2018. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  3. ^ "Dr. Sivan takes over as LPSC director". The Hindu. 2 July 2014. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  4. ^ "A humble farmer's son to Isro's 'Rocket Man': Incredible journey of K Sivan". The Times of India.
  5. ^ Raman, A. Ragu (12 January 2018). "Fighting odds: Once mango trader now Isro chairman". Deccan Chronicle. Retrieved 31 August 2019.
  6. ^ "K Sivan: A humble farmer's son's journey to Indian Space agency top job". The Times of India. 11 January 2018. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  7. ^ "Chairman ISRO, Secretary DOS - ISRO". 17 August 2019. Archived from the original on 17 August 2019. Retrieved 3 September 2022.
  8. ^ "From farmer's son to Isro chief: Lesser known accomplishments of K Sivan". India Today. Ist. Retrieved 31 October 2019.
  9. ^ Correspondent, Special (2 July 2014). "New Directors at ISRO centres". The Hindu. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  10. ^ "Who is K. Sivan?". Sharan Poovanna. Livemint. 12 January 2018. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  11. ^ New directors for major ISRO centres
  12. ^ "K. Sivan takes charge as new ISRO chairman". The Hindu. 16 January 2018. Retrieved 28 October 2018.
  13. ^ "Chandrayaan-2: Success in India's second attempt at launching Moon mission".
  14. ^ "ISRO chief K Sivan gets extension till January 2022, ensures continuity in opening up space sector". The Economic Times. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
  15. ^ "ISRO top brass pushed Sivan junior's recruitment: Plaint". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 7 April 2022.
  16. ^ Indore, Press Trust of India. "Ex-ISRO chief Dr K Sivan is now chairman of IIT Indore's board of governors". Business Standard. Retrieved 1 September 2023.
  17. ^ "ISRO Chairman Sivan gets A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Award". The Hindu. 15 August 2019.
  18. ^ "ISRO on Twitter: "Dr B N Suresh and Dr. K Sivan were awarded the prestigious IEEE 'Simon Ramo Medal' 2020 for their exemplary work in the field of systems engineering".

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation
2018 - 2022
Succeeded by
Preceded by Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre
2015 - 2018