India prepares to embark on another remarkable venture into space exploration. Ritu Karidhal, widely recognized as the ‘Rocket Woman’ of India, holds a crucial role as the Mission Director for Chandrayaan-3, India’s ambitious third lunar exploration mission.
Chandrayaan-3 marks a significant milestone for India’s space program. It is scheduled for launch at 2:35 pm IST on July 14, 2023, from the renowned Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. The Launch Vehicle Mark III rocket will embark on its journey, carrying the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft towards the Moon.
Ritu Karidhal played a crucial role in the successful execution of India’s inaugural mission to the Red Planet, the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) or Mangalyaan. She has served as the operations director for several ISRO missions, showcasing her leadership and organizational skills. In her role as the Project Manager and Deputy Operations Director for MOM, Karidhal played a pivotal role in overseeing the critical operations involved in the successful launch of the orbiter from Earth and its subsequent capture of Mars. MOM achieved the remarkable feat of reaching Mars on its first endeavor.
According to the World Economic Forum, Ritu Karidhal has published over 20 research papers, highlighting her commitment to advancing scientific knowledge and sharing her expertise with the broader community.
Karidhal’s academic journey began with a Master of Science degree in Physics from Lucknow University, followed by a Master of Technology degree from the esteemed Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore. From an early age, she harbored a deep fascination for space, collecting news articles on space endeavors by ISRO and NASA during her school days. In November 1997, Karidhal commenced her journey with the Indian space agency, contributing her expertise and passion to the MOM’s triumphant realization.
Karidhal’s accomplishments have garnered recognition and accolades. In 2007, she was honored with the Young Scientist Award by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Azad, an esteemed figure in India’s scientific community. The Society of Indian Aerospace Technologies & Industries (SIATI) bestowed upon her the Women Achievers in Aerospace Award in 2017, recognizing her outstanding contributions to the field. Moreover, she has received the Birla Sun Achievement Award from the Bank of Baroda, further affirming her remarkable achievements in the realm of space exploration.
A proud moment for Indians across the globe 🇮🇳🇮🇳
— Rajeev Chandrasekhar 🇮🇳 (@Rajeev_GoI) July 14, 2023
Looking ahead, India’s next lunar mission, Chandrayaan-3, holds great promise. The objective of this mission is to achieve a soft landing of the lander on the Moon’s south pole. If successful, India would become the fourth nation to accomplish such a feat and the first country in the world to land a spacecraft on the Moon’s south pole.