Kailasavadivoo Sivan

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Kailasavadivoo Sivan
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman, Dr. K. Sivan addressing a press conference on issues related to Department of Space, in New Delhi on August 28, 2018.JPG
Sivan addressing a press conference, 2018
Chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation
Assumed office
15 January 2018
Preceded byA. S. Kiran Kumar
Personal details
Born (1957-04-14) 14 April 1957 (age 61)
Sarakkalvilai, Kanyakumari, Madras State (now Tamil Nadu), India
EducationMadras Institute of Technology (BE)
Indian Institute of Science (ME)
Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (PhD)

Kailasavadivoo Sivan (born 14 April 1957) is an Indian space scientist and the chairperson of the Indian Space Research Organization.[1][2] He is the former Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Center and Liquid Propulsion centre.[3]

Personal life[edit]

K. Sivan was born in Sarakkalvilai, near Nagercoil in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu state of India. His parents are Kailasavadivoo and Chellam. Sivan is popularly known as the "Rocket Man" for his significant contribution to the development of cryogenic engines, for India's space programme.


Sivan is son of a farmer and studied in a Tamil medium Government school in Sarakkalvilai Village and later in Vallankumaranvilai in Kanyakumari district. He is the first graduate from his family.[4] 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. 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.


Sivan worked on the design and development of launch vehicles for Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Sivan joined ISRO in 1982 to Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) Project. He was appointed as the director of ISRO's Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre on 2 July 2014.[5] On 1 June 2015, he became the Director of VSSC.[6] He joined ISRO in PSLV Project and has contributed immensely towards end to end mission planning, mission design, mission integration and analysis. The mission design process and innovative mission design strategies perfected for PSLV has become the foundation for ISRO launch vehicles like GSLV, GSLV-MK3 and RLV-TD. He is the chief architect of 6D trajectory simulation software, SITARA which is the back-bone of the real-time and non-real-time trajectory simulations of all ISRO launch vehicles. He commissioned world class simulation facility in ISRO for mission synthesis and analysis which is used for mission design, sub-system level validation and integrated validation of avionics systems in all ISRO launch vehicles. He developed and implemented an innovative day-of launch wind biasing strategy which has made possible rocket launch on any day of the year at any weather and wind conditions. He has contributed significantly in establishing a Parallel computing facility and Hypersonic wind tunnel facility, which has opened new avenues in the area of computational fluid dynamics, and self-reliance in wind-tunnel testing. He evolved novel strategies for launching India's MARS mission endeavor through PSLV, ISRO's work horse. He also led the RLV-TD development program and spearheaded its design, qualification, aerodynamic characterization and hardware development. He joined GSLV Project in April 2011 as Project Director with a mandate to demonstrate the robustness and reliability of GSLV as well as flight demonstrate the Indigenous Cryo Stage. His leadership led to the historical achievement of most successful GSLV flight with indigenous cryogenic stage. During his career at ISRO, he has held many responsibilities like Group Director, MSSG, Project Director, RLV-TD, Deputy Director, Aeronautics Entity, Deputy Director, Structures Entity, Project Director, GSLV, Chief controller,etc

It was Sivan's expertise that gave ISRO the ability to send 104 satellites in a single mission, setting a world record on February 14, 2017. He was the key person who worked on the technicalities of how the satellites would be placed in orbit. The new ISRO chairman has also played a key role in developing the indigenous Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle MK II, and was part of the team that ideated on the Swadeshi space shuttle (a reusable launch vehicle).

Sivan was appointed the chief of ISRO in January 2018 and he assumed office on 15 January.[7]


  • Shri Hari Om Ashram Prerit Dr Vikram Sarabhai Research award (1999)
  • ISRO merit award (2007)
  • Dr Biren Roy Space Science award (2011)
  • Distinguished Alumnus Award (2013) from MIT Alumni Association, Chennai
  • Distinguished Alumnus Award (2018) from Institute of Science, Bangalore

He was conferred Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) from Sathyabama University, Chennai in April 2014.[8]


  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. July 2, 2014. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  4. ^ "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.
  5. ^ Correspondent, Special (July 2, 2014). "New Directors at ISRO centres". The Hindu. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  6. ^ New directors for major ISRO centres
  7. ^ "K. Sivan takes charge as new ISRO chairman". The Hindu. 16 January 2018. Retrieved 28 October 2018.
  8. ^ "Who is K. Sivan?". Sharan Poovanna. Livemint. 12 January 2018. Retrieved 22 January 2018.

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
A. S. Kiran Kumar
ISRO Chairman
Succeeded by