Sriharikota (Andhra Pradesh): Women power at the Indian space agency is slowly coming to the fore and that too in the interplanetary missions.
The latest is Niger Shaji, Project Director for Aditya-L1 mission, India’s mission to the Sun.
A native of Shengottai in Tamil Nadu, the 59-year-old Shaji did her schooling in a government school there.
A bright student – she stood district first in her 10th standard and school first in her 12th standard.
Completing her engineering degree in a college in Tirunelveli, Shaji completed M.Tech from Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi and then joined Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
Over the years she was involved in various projects and the responsibility of heading Aditya-L1 came to her about eight years back.
“I have been heading this complex project for eight years. It was a challenging project. To place the spacecraft in the halo orbit itself is a major challenge. Further the payloads were also first of its kind,” Shaji told IANS.
She said her husband, a mechanical engineer, is working in Dubai, son a Ph.D is working in Netherlands and daughter is a qualified doctor and is studying post graduation.
It may be recalled that two women played a key role in the Chandrayaan-2 mission viz., the Project Director M.Vanitha and the Mission Director Ritu Karidhal Srivastava.
Similarly in the case of Chandrayaan-3, Kalpana, Deputy Director played a key role.