From Kanyakumari to Outer Space: The life story of Dr K Sivan

An embodiment of perseverance, humility and dedication, Dr K Sivan has ignited interest in space across the people of India.


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When one tries to think of Dr K Sivan, the visual that strikes the mind is that of the Prime Minister of India embracing and consoling him while tears were streaming down his cheeks after the unfortunate incident of the Vikram Lander on the Chandrayaan 2 mission, where it didn’t land successfully on the south pole of the lunar surface. Dr K Sivan is an embodiment of perseverance, humility and dedication.

Born in 1957 in a small village in the Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu, he used to walk to the government primary school barefoot. He also used to work on his father’s farm during his school days, with their main aim being feeding the family. Wanting to become a teacher or a bank employee, he desired to get into engineering after pre-university. However, due to lack of funds, he enrolled himself in a Bachelor of Science program. It was his professor that suggested him to attend the Madras Institute of Technology, and he graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering in 1980. Not getting a job, he continued with academics and got a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore in 1982, and started working at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). He also earned a PhD in aerospace engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay in 2006.

Dr K Sivan

He has been serving as the Chairman of ISRO for over 2 years now, since January 2018. 

Dr K Sivan remarks that he never got what he wanted in life. However, he also adds that whatever he got as a second chance worked out to be the best choice always, and him not getting what he wanted was a wonderful stroke of luck.

His dream is to be able to successfully put a man in orbit and bring him back safely to the earth. Having immense confidence in the youngsters of India, he dreams of India being the No. 1 technology powerhouse globally one day.

With ISRO having set its vision with missions to Mars (Mangalyaan-2), Venus (Shukrayaan-1), the Sun (Aditya L1), and a manned mission (Gaganyaan), it is only fit that the sky is NOT the limit for ISRO and its chairman, Dr K Sivan.

Inspired by his story? Want to learn more from scientists like Dr K Sivan, top industry experts and your favourite celebrities? Download Xpert – Learn from the best for FREE, the world’s first social learning app on a mission to make experts accessible.

Also read:

Awards, accolades and achievements of Dr K Sivan


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