Shri. S. Somanath assumed charge as Secretary, Department of Space, and Chairman, Space Commission.
Shri. Somanath assumed charge after a stint of four years as the Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananathapuram. He also served as the Director of Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC), Valiamala, for two and half years.
Shri. Somanath obtained B. Tech in Mechanical Engineering from TKM College of Engineering, Kollam, and Masters in Aerospace Engineering from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, specializing in Structures, Dynamics, and Control with a Gold Medal. He joined VSSC in 1985 and was a team leader for the Integration of PSLV during the early phases.
Shri. Somanath is an expert in the area of system engineering of Launch Vehicles. His contributions in PSLV and GSLV Mk-III were in their overall architecture, propulsion stages design, structural and structural dynamics designs, separation systems, vehicle integration, and integration procedures development.
He is the recipient of the ‘Space Gold Medal’ from the Astronautical Society of India. He received the ‘Merit Award’ and ‘Performance Excellence Award’ from ISRO and a ‘Team Excellence Award’ for GSLV Mk-III development. He is a Fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE), a Fellow of the Aeronautical Society of India (AeSI), Astronautical Society of India (ASI), and a Corresponding Member of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA). He is in the Bureau of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) and a recipient of the National Aeronautics Prize from the Aeronautical Society of India (ASI).
He has published papers in journals & seminars in structural dynamics and control, dynamic analysis of separation mechanisms, vibration & acoustic testing, launch vehicle design, and launch services management.