Kgpians Who Steered India’s Moonshot

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It was a week of celebration with India’s moonshot Chandrayaan -2 being launched by Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) from the spaceport at Sriharikota at Andhra Pradesh. And this time too IIT Kharagpur has a reason to give its traditional tempo shout. Three Kgpians were among the noted scientists who played a key role in the successful launch of GSLV MkIII – M1/Chandrayaan -2.

Alumnus Dr V Narayanan, an expert in cryogenic rocket propulsion technology, was responsible for the manufacture of GSLV rocket’s cryogenic and liquid engines.  He did his MTech in Cryogenic Engineering in 1990 and PhD in Aerospace Engineering in 2001 from IIT Kharagpur. Dr Narayanan joined ISRO in 1984 and has held various positions during the last 34 years. Currently, he is Outstanding Scientist and Director at the Liquid Propulsion System Centre (LPSC), ISRO, Thiruvananthapuram. LPSC is the lead centre of ISRO and is responsible for the development of liquid propulsion systems for satellite launch vehicles and spacecraft. Dr Narayanan was conferred with the Distinguished Alumnus Award by IIT Kharagpur in 2018.

And then there is K.C. Raghunatha Pillai, a rocket specialist who did MTech in Cryogenic Engineering in 1986 from IIT Kharagpur. On July 15, the initially scheduled Chandrayaan-2 mission was suddenly halted. After loading the cryogenic fuel into the rocket, the team of rocket specialists observed a technical issue. Pillai played a crucial role in averting this disaster. He is the Vehicle Director of Chandrayaan-2.  He started his career as a project engineer in INSAT-2A programme at the Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad.

As per a recent update another IIT Kharagpur alumnus, Shyamal Kumar Kanungo is a senior member of the Control Team of Chandrayaan-2 mission. He was also part of the Mangalyan team. Kanungo did MTech from IIT Kharagpur.

Chandrayaan-2 is being hailed as the most complex and prestigious mission ever undertaken by the ISRO since its inception in 1969. Chandrayaan-2 has set the course to the moon’s south polar region which remains unexplored till date.

Graphics : Suman Sutradhar

By Shreyoshi Ghosh


  • I am proud that 3 IIT Alumni played a vital role in the launch of CHANDRAYAN 2.
    P.R. GOVIL


    I am filled with joy on such a stupendous contribution of IIT KGP alumni in our glorious space programme.
    Hari M Gupta
    Ex Chair Professor, EED, IIT, Delhi
    M.Tech. (ECE) 1969 (IIT KGP) + [B.E (Roorkee) + Ph.D. (IIT, Kanpur)]
    President Institution of Communication Engineers and Information Technologists (ICEIT)

  • As IIT KGP alumni ( 1968 Nehru) I am very proud of these achievements. But I am concerned about general upkeep and repairs of all residences for the students We need to improve repairs of these halls of residences.
    Good upkeep will improve physical & metal conditions of the students.

  • Tamal Krishna Chakravorty -

    Kuodos to Narayanan, Raghunath and Shyamal for your feat to put the Chandrayaan-2 in course for journey to the moon. We are feeling great! IIT ka tempo high hai!

  • Indeed this is a proud feeling to know that three alumni of IIT , Kgp could make significant contributions in the latest moon mission of GREAT TEAM ISRO !


    Know Shymal well while we were residing in same sector, sector-c Bondamunda Railway Colony. Sundargarh District Orissa. Feeling proud & got overjoyed when came to know that Shymal was one of the member of Chandrayaan-2 technical support team.

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