Though Chandrayaan-2, India’s second moon mission lost contact with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) just as it was about to reach moon’s south pole, there is no doubt that it has given us multiple reasons to celebrate.
And, one such reason was the Indian women scientists showing the world that what our women are capable of.
Chandrayaan-2 is India’s first interplanetary mission led by two great women scientists — Project Director M Vanitha and Mission Director Ritu Karidhal.
At I FOR HER, we are celebrating our Rocket Women as they showed how Indian women are set to conquer the moon!
The ISRO launched the Chandrayaan-2, India’s second mission to the moon, in July 2019 from Sriharikota. This mission is an advancement of Chandrayaan-1 that was launched in 2008.
Chandrayaan-2 is expected to gather intelligence related to minerals, rock, and water on the moon.
And, it will also be the first interplanetary mission that has a woman Project Director and a woman Mission Director. This is not the only reason to celebrate.
30% of the team in charge of the mission are women, which is big news given that Rocket science in India is largely considered to be a male-dominated field.
Five years ago, when the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) entered Mars’ orbit, a picture went viral online. And, it went viral for all the right reasons.
It showed saree clad women in the ISRO control room rejoicing and celebrating the success of their mission.
And, now two inspiring Indian women would add another feather to India’s cap by steering the project.
M. Vanitha, the project director, would be the first woman to hold such a position in such a vital mission at the ISRO so far.
As the project director, she will be expected to oversee every minute aspect of the project that would push the mission towards completion.
Our superwoman, Vanitha, had also received the prestigious award for the Best Woman Scientist in 2006 by the Astronomical Society of India.
Another inspiring woman, who would be supporting Vanitha in steering this project is Ritu Karidhal.
Ritu Karidhal will be joining Vanitha as Mission Director. She has also served as the Deputy Operations Director for the Mars Orbiter Mission.
Karidhal has worked at the ISRO for 18 years and has been part of several missions. Even though she worked on the Chandrayaan-1, it was the Mars Orbiter Mission that brought her to the limelight.
Karidhal will be overseeing the whole mission. She will not only review the mission progress but also coordinate with other agencies to attain the goal. She will also be designing the mission objectives and ensure their fulfillment.
Last year, Google India posted a video that revealed how science was so much more than a school subject for Karidhal; it was her passion.
In the video, Karidhal shares her inspiring journey and how her family members supported her in pursuing her dream.
Karidhal has a degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Lucknow. Following her graduation, she bagged a job at ISRO, Bangalore. In 2007, she also received the prestigious ISRO Young Scientist Award from A.P.J Abdul Kalam in 2007.
And, today, she is known as the Rocket Woman of India.
Both Vanitha and Karidhal are the role models that our Indian women need. They have broken the glass ceiling in the male-dominated industry and proven anything is possible with determination and hard work.
The inspiring stories of these two ROCKET WOMEN will make you believe in the power of dreams and to relentlessly work towards achieving them.