ISRO chief G Madhavan Nair presented Manorma News award

Thiruvananthapuram: Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) G Madhavan Nair was presented with the Newsmaker 2008 award by 'Manorama News' channel on Monday. Nair was the team leader of Chandrayaan I,  the country's first mission to the moon.

The award was presented by defence minister A K Antony at a function organised in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.

"Madhavan Nair is not merely a scientist. He is a symbol. He is the captain of a successful team, which took India's image to dizzying heigts," Antony said. The voyage of Chandrayaan has made India the fourth country after the US, Russia, and Japan to have its flag on the moon.

Chandrayaan was a big leap for the Indian space programme, which helped put the tricolour on the moon, Antony said. He added it was the vision of prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who entrusted the space programme in the hands of late Vikram Sarabhai and "now, it is safe in the hands of Madhavan Nair,"

Nair reiterated in his speech that ISRO plans to put a man in space by 2015 and if all goes well, in another six years the country will be able to send a man to the moon.

Nair is also secretary to the department of space, government of India, since September 2003. He is also the chairman, Space Commission and acts as the chairman of governing body of the Antrix Corporation, Bangalore.

Nair was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India's second highest civillian honour, on January 26, 2009. He is also a recipient of several top honours including Padma Bhushan (1998) and Vikram Sarabhai Memorial Gold Medal of the Indian Science Congress Association. He has also received Gold Medal from the prime minister at the 94th Indian Science Congress at Chidambaram in 2007.

Nair was born at Neyyattinkara, a small town near Thiruvananthapuram. His early life was spent in the Kanyakumari district, Tamil Nadu, whre he studied. After graduating from College of Engineering, Thiruvananthapuram in 1966 specialising in electrical and communications engineering, he joined the Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC) Training School, Mumbai.