S. Somanath Biography, Chandrayaan 3, ISRO, Age, Family, Education



S. Somanath Biography: S. Somanath, an Indian Aerospace Engineer and Rocket Technologist, stands as a remarkable figure in the realm of space exploration. Born in July 1963 in the tranquil town of Aroor, Alappuzha district, Kerala, Somanath’s journey from a young dreamer to becoming the tenth chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is nothing short of awe-inspiring. This biography delves into life, education, career milestones, family ties, and the profound impact Somanath has made in advancing space exploration.


Early Life and Education


Somanath’s early years were nurtured in the warm embrace of his home, where his father, Sreedhara Panicker, worked as a Hindi teacher. Despite the different subjects, his father encouraged Somanath’s passion for science by providing him with science books in both English and Malayalam languages. This early encouragement ignited Somanath’s insatiable curiosity about the cosmos, setting him on a path to becoming a trailblazer in aerospace engineering.

Academically driven, Somanath began his educational journey at St. Augustine’s School in Aroor. After completing his schooling, he pursued further studies at Maharaja’s College, Ernakulam, from 1978 to 1980. Fueling his thirst for knowledge, he enrolled in Mechanical Engineering at TKM College of Engineering, Kollam, Kerala University, graduating in 1985. His quest for learning did not end there, as he pursued a Master’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering, specializing in Dynamics and Control, at the prestigious Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, from 1994 to 1995. Undeterred, Somanath continued his pursuit of excellence by enrolling in a Ph.D. program in Mechanical Engineering at the esteemed Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, in 2008.


Quick Information


Name:                              S. Somanath

Full Name:                       Dr. Sreedhara Panicker Somanath

Nickname:                       Som

Date of Birth:                   July 1963

Age:                                 60 Years (in 2023)

Birth Place:                      Cherthala, Kerala, India

Height:                             5 ft. 8 inch / 152 cm.

Weight:                             82 Kg. / 181 Lbs.

Nationality:                     Indian

Religion:                         Hindu

Ethnicity:                         Malayalam

Marital Status:                Married

Wife/Spouse:            Valsala Kumari



  • Son- Madhav
  • Daughter- Malika


  • Father – Vedamparambil Sreedhara Panicker (Teacher)
  • Mother – Thankamma (Housewife)

Home Town:         Aroor, Alappuzha District, Kerala

School:                   St Augustine’s School, Aroor


Academic Qualification:

  • Tech Mechanical Engineering
  • Master’s In Aerospace Engineering
  • D. in Mechanical Engineering

Profession:             Aerospace Engineer, Rocket Technologist

Current Position:   Chairman of ISRO

Honors and Awards:

Political Party:      N/A

Net Worth:       INR- 2-5 Crore

Contact Number:         N/A

Social Contacts:


Early Career and Contributions to ISRO


In 1985, fresh out of college, Somanath began an illustrious career at the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). He joined the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), where he worked on the groundbreaking Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) project. During this time, he showcased his wisdom, scholarship, and problem-solving skills.. Notably, in 1994, when a PSLV launch faced technical hurdles, Somanath’s expertise and quick thinking facilitated its successful resolution, allowing the rocket to soar skyward.

Over the years, Somanath assumed several pivotal positions within ISRO, including Project Manager for PSLV, Deputy Director for Structures Entity/Propulsion & Space Ordnance Entity, and Project Director for the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV Mk-III). His contributions in these roles significantly advanced launch vehicle design, engineering, structural dynamics, mechanisms, and pyrotechnics.


Somanath’s Pioneering Achievements


Somanath’s pioneering work extended beyond ISRO’s launch vehicle projects. While serving as the Director of the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) from 2015 to 2018, he played a key role in designing and realizing liquid propulsion systems for launch vehicles and spacecraft programs.

His visionary leadership and technical expertise were also instrumental during his tenure as the Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) from 2018 to 2022. As the lead center of ISRO for the design and realization of launch vehicles, VSSC has been at the forefront of India’s space exploration endeavors.


Appointment as ISRO Chairman



In January 2022, S. Somanath achieved yet another historic milestone in his career when he was appointed as the tenth chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization. His appointment was met with widespread admiration and pride, as he became the fourth Malayali to hold this esteemed position, following in the footsteps of illustrious predecessors K. Kasturirangan, G. Madhavan Nair, and K. Radhakrishnan.

As the Chairman of ISRO, Somanath was responsible for guiding the organization towards greater technological advancements, policy formulation, and meeting the nation’s space-related needs. His vision extended beyond India’s borders, as he worked towards expanding the space economy and fostering collaboration with various stakeholders, including technology companies.


Honors and Awards


S. Somanath’s contributions to the field of aerospace engineering have been recognized through numerous accolades and awards. Notably, he was honored with the Space Gold Medal by the Astronautical Society of India (ASI) and received the Performance Excellence Award and Team Excellence Award for GSLV Mk-III realization from ISRO. Additionally, he holds the prestigious title of Fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE) and is a Corresponding Member of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA).


Personal Life and Family


Beyond his illustrious career, Somanath finds solace and support in his family. He is married to Valsala Somanath, an accomplished professional working with the Goods and Services Tax (GST) department. The couple is blessed with two children, a son named Madhav and a daughter named Malika. Somanath’s children have followed in their father’s footsteps and completed their post-graduation in Engineering, further solidifying the family’s passion for scientific exploration.


Impact on the Space Industry


Somanath’s tenure as the ISRO Chairman has been marked by remarkable progress and groundbreaking achievements. Under his visionary leadership, ISRO has continued its impressive journey, launching various satellites for communication, earth observation, and space research. Moreover, the successful launch of the Chandrayaan-3 mission has garnered global acclaim, cementing India’s position as a leading player in lunar exploration.

Somanath’s efforts have also extended to fostering international collaborations and promoting the sharing of knowledge, expertise, and resources in space exploration. Through partnerships with various countries and space agencies, ISRO has further strengthened its capabilities and expanded its reach in the global space arena.


Somanath’s Vision for the Future

S. Somanath Biography

Looking ahead, S. Somanath envisions a bright future for ISRO and the Indian space program. His ambitious goals include launching advanced space missions, exploring deep space, and propelling India into the realm of interplanetary exploration. As he continues to lead ISRO with unwavering dedication and visionary zeal, Somanath emphasizes the significance of nurturing the next generation of scientists, engineers, and space enthusiasts. He firmly believes that by inspiring young minds and nurturing their passion for space exploration, the future of space technology will be in safe and capable hands.


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