Saturday, September 26, 2009

Prof. Satish Dhawan

Yesterday was the 89th birth anniversary of the late Prof. Satish Dhawan. P.V. Manoranjan Rao reminisces about this charismatic man who led both IISc and ISRO simultaneously for over a decade!

Some excerpts from Rao's article:

Under the leadership of Dhawan and Brahm Prakash, ISRO pioneered a new way of managing complex projects. In this system, the project director presided over a small team of experts whose job it was to coordinate and channelise efforts of independent R&D groups towards realising a common goal, be it a launch vehicle or a satellite. Dhawan also ensured total transparency in project management by involving leading professionals from outside ISRO in the technical reviews of its projects.

From the beginning, Dhawan insisted on a significant role for indigenous industry in the projects of ISRO. Today, hundreds of industrial units, both in the public and private sectors, manufacture a wide range of space-quality hardware for ISRO.

The early days saw many failures. Through all those difficult times, Dhawan never lost faith in ISRO’s capabilities. He took personal responsibility for failure but when success came, he always attributed it to ISRO and his colleagues. Thus, when the first flight of SLV-3 in 1979 failed, Dhawan faced the press. When the second flight succeeded, Dhawan kept himself in the background while Kalam spoke to the press. With this kind of leadership, engineers and scientists in ISRO were never afraid to face honest failures.


  1. pradeepkumar pi said...

    Perhaps the one of the best article I read about Sathish Dhawan is his obituary note by his Ph.D adviser Hans Liepmann @ Caltech

  2. EXPLORATIONS said...

    you are among the few to note this article
    He was a contemprory of the poineers of the day
    Homi J Bhaba born Oct 30, 1909
    Homi Sethna born 1924
    Vikram Sarabhai born Aug 12,1919
    Satish Dhawan Sept 25 1920

    Chek the dates they were abroad , where, and who were the contemprories there

    Their world was still small and simple