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I do not think of my work as a woman scientist or a man scientist: S. Geetha

“As an engineer in Control Design Division in Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) Thiruvananthapuram, it was my first project on September 20, 1993 for which I had done the autopilot design that guides the satellite into its pre-decided orbit. Imagine my disappointment, shock and anxiety when that launch, PSLV D I, failed,” recalls S Geetha, Programme Director, Space Transportation System at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram. Even now her face mirrors that disappointment.

The next minute, with a smile, she asserts that she did not let that incident crash her dreams of making a career as a space scientist. “Instead, our team was involved in the analysis of what went wrong and that exercise turned out to be an opportunity to learn at close quarters how different teams worked in close coordination for a successful launch. That was an excellent way of learning. Once the next launch was a success, we moved ahead with other projects,” recalls the 58-year-old with a smile. Since then, Geetha has been flying high and is now one of the senior-most female scientists in VSSC.

“I am an engineer and scientist. I do not think of my work as a woman scientist or a man scientist. I have always wanted to work here, especially after my elder brother, G Ayyappan, began working in VSSC,” Geetha says.

“As an engineer in Control Design Division in Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) Thiruvananthapuram, it was my first project on September 20, 1993 for which I had done the autopilot design that guides the satellite into its pre-decided orbit. Imagine my disappointment, shock and anxiety when that launch, PSLV D I, failed,” recalls S Geetha, Programme Director, Space Transportation System at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram. Even now her face mirrors that disappointment.

The next minute, with a smile, she asserts that she did not let that incident crash her dreams of making a career as a space scientist. “Instead, our team was involved in the analysis of what went wrong and that exercise turned out to be an opportunity to learn at close quarters how different teams worked in close coordination for a successful launch. That was an excellent way of learning.

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