ISRO on Wednesday announced Chandrayaan-2, India’s second mission to the moon will be launched on July 15 at 2.15 AM from Sriharikota. But what makes the feat special is that the mission will be steered by two women–M. Vanitha and Ritu Karidhal.
“For Chandrayaan-2 mission, two women — Ritu Karidhal and M Vanitha — are leading as project and mission directors respectively,” said ISRO Chairman, Dr. K Sivan on Wednesday.
Chandrayaan-2 is an advanced version of the previous Chandrayaan-1 mission, which was launched a decade ago.
Project director has a plethora of responsibilities, its not just the technical skills but requires coordination skills as well. M Vanitha will be overseeing the development of hardware and other aspects of the project, says a News18 report. Vanitha was awarded best woman scientist in 2006 by the Astronautical Society of India.
Rithu Karidhal, the Mission Director, has also served as the Deputy Operations Director for the Mars Orbiter Mission. Ritu was awarded Young Scientist Award in 2007 by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, the then President of India.
“Since my childhood, Science was not a subject for me, it was a passion for me,” says Karidhal in a video by Google India. She also adds that her family has always been supportive. “Girls should pursue their dreams and should not give up,” she says.
The ISRO chairman also said that thirty percent of the team composed for this mission are women. “We only looked at the most fit person for the job, and it so happened that it was women here. It didn’t make a difference for us,” he said.