Scientist Appointed to Lead ISRO’s Commercial Arm

ISRO PR — Dr. VS Hegde, Outstanding Scientist and Scientific Secretary, ISRO has been appointed as the Chairman and Managing Director of Antrix Corporation Limited of the Department of Space.

Dr Hegde, an expert in remote sensing applications, has over three decades of experience in ISRO, and has contributed immensely in the areas of Earth Observation, Disaster Management Support and Societal Development Programmes.

Dr Hegde holds a Post Graduate degree in Applied Geology from Karnatak University and Doctorate in Environmental Science from Bangalore University.

Dr Hegde was the Scientific Secretary of ISRO. He is also Vice-President of the International Astronautical Federation.

Shri V Koteswara Rao, Outstanding Scientist and Director of Laboratory for Electro Optic Systems (LEOS), a unit of ISRO, has been appointed as the Scientific Secretary of ISRO. Shri Koteswara Rao has held several important positions in ISRO. He was the Project Director of Astrosat satellite.

Shri Koteswara Rao holds post graduate degree in Instrumentation and Control Systems from JNTU College of Engineering, Kakinada. He has made significant contribution in the design and development of satellite sensor systems of ISRO.

Shri Rao is a Member of International Academy of Astronautics and the Executive Secretary of the Astronautical Society of India.

Editor’s Note:  Hegde’s appointment comes in the wake of the Antrix-Devas Multimedia controversy, after which the Indian government decided that it was not a good idea for the chairman of ISRO to also head up the Antrix commercial arm. Thus, a separate chairman has been appointed and a new board is being established.

The selection of a scientist to head up a commercial unit is an interesting decision. He certainly understands the technical side of things, but I don’t see much in his background on the business end. Ideally, you would want to have a leader who understands both.

I also wonder whether the government should have brought someone in from outside of ISRO to provide more of a separation. Given how dominant ISRO is in Indian aerospace, it’s a good question as to how many viable candidates there would have been outside the space agency.