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Another KGPian leaves his mark

Leapfroggers (HarperCollins) is the latest book by a KGPian to hit the stalls. The author is Ved Prakash Sandlas (1967/BTech/EC), who was among the first 50 engineers to join ISRO and was part of Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s core team that launched SLV-3. While working at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Trivandrum, Sandlas was appointed Group Director, Electronics (1984-86) and, Mission Director/Project Director SLV-3 (1980-84), and was responsible for the launch of SLV-3 in May, 1981, as well as the launch of the Rohini Satellites in April, 1983.

Leapfroggers is an insider’s account of ISRO which also tells the story of how India became a space power of reckoning. In a way, it is also a deeply personal story because we get to know Sandlas’s own contribution to India’s space mission, a story any KGPian would be proud of.

Unfortunately, Sandlas did not live to see the book take final shape. He passed away last year and the book was posthumously launched in September, 2018. In the book, Sandlas reflects on ISRO culture, its people, their aspirations, ambitions, beliefs and limitations. Leapfroggers is thus said to be “the human story of ISRO’s and India’s technological advancement.”

From ISRO, Sandlas subsequently shifted to DRDO to work as Director, Defence Electronics Applications Laboratory (DEAL), from 1986 to 1996 and later served as Distinguished Scientist and Chief Controller R&D from 1996 to 2005. He contributed significantly to areas of Satellite-based Communications and Surveillance, Information Technology, Cyber Security, e-Governance, Electronic Warfare, EMI/EMC and HRD.

As Director of DEAL, Dehradun, Sandlas was credited with the introduction of the satellite communications era in the defence services. DEAL was also recognized through ISO 9001 certification in 1996, making it the first R&D laboratory to achieve this distinction. Sandlas assumed the responsibility to provide communication links to the Antarctica expeditions from 1991. He retired from regular government service in February 2005. Sandlas worked as Director General, Amity Institute of Space Science &Technology (AISST), and Amity Institute of Aerospace Engineering (AIAE), Noida from June 2008-2013.

Sandlas was awarded DRDO’s ‘Scientist of the Year’ award (1988) for outstanding contributions to Electronics, and FIE Foundation National Award (1998) for Science & Technology. He co-authored the Glimpses of Indian Engineering Achievements, a coffee table book published to commemorate the silver jubilee of INAE in 2012. He also authored the book Non-Ionizing EM Radiation Effects on Biological Systems. Sandlas was awarded IIT Kharagpur’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2012.

By Chirosree Basu

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