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Ritu Karidhal Srivastava: India’s Leading Space Scientist behind Chandrayaan-3 Mission

From Childhood Curiosity to Leading the Mission: The Journey of Ritu Karidhal Srivastava, India's "Rocket Woman"

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has set its sights on the moon once again with the upcoming launch of Chandrayaan-3, and leading the mission is the renowned scientist Ritu Karidhal Srivastava. Scheduled for launch at 2:35 pm on Friday from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, Chandrayaan-3 aims to explore the uncharted territory of the moon’s south pole.

The mission will be propelled into space by ISRO’s GSLV Mark 3 (LVM 3) heavy-lift launch vehicle, equipped with a composite of propulsion, lander, and rover components. The lander is designed for a soft landing on a designated lunar site and will deploy the rover to conduct in-situ chemical analysis of the moon’s surface. If successful, India will join an elite group of nations, including the United States, Russia, and China, that have achieved a soft landing on the moon.

At the forefront of this crucial lunar mission is Dr. Ritu Karidhal Srivastava, a highly respected senior scientist at ISRO. Dr. Karidhal, affectionately known as India’s “rocket woman,” has an illustrious career that includes serving as the Mission Director for Chandrayaan-2 and the Deputy Operations Director for Mangalyaan, India’s Mars Orbiter Mission.

Hailing from Lucknow, Dr. Ritu Karidhal Srivastava pursued her passion for space by obtaining a master’s degree in Physics from Lucknow University, followed by an MTech in Aerospace Engineering from the prestigious Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru. She joined ISRO in 1997, where she rapidly rose through the ranks and played a crucial role in several significant space missions.

Dr. Karidhal’s accomplishments have earned her numerous accolades, including the ISRO Young Scientist Award presented by former President APJ Abdul Kalam. She was also honored with the ISRO Team Award for her contributions to the Mars Orbiter Mission in 2015 and the Women Achievers in Aerospace award by the Society of Indian Aerospace Technologies & Industries (SIATI).

From a young age, Dr. Ritu Karidhal Srivastava has been captivated by space and diligently collected newspaper clippings on ISRO and NASA’s achievements. Her passion and expertise have resulted in over 20 published papers in esteemed international and national journals.

The launch of Chandrayaan-3 marks another significant milestone in Dr. Karidhal’s remarkable career and further cements her legacy as a trailblazer in the field of space exploration. As the mission lead, she will spearhead the team of dedicated scientists and engineers in their pursuit of scientific knowledge and lunar discovery.

Dr. Ritu Karidhal Srivastava’s contributions to India’s space program extend far beyond her technical expertise. She serves as an inspiration, particularly to young women aspiring to pursue careers in science and engineering. Her achievements exemplify the spirit of perseverance, innovation, and determination that have propelled India’s space exploration endeavors to new heights.

As Chandrayaan-3 prepares for its ambitious mission to the moon, Dr. Ritu Karidhal Srivastava stands as a symbol of India’s scientific excellence and a beacon of inspiration for future generations of scientists and dreamers. Her indomitable spirit and groundbreaking work continue to shape the trajectory of India’s space exploration journey, propelling the nation toward even greater scientific achievements.

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