Dr. G. Madhavan Nair was born on October 31, 1943 in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. This former Chairperson of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is known as the man behind Chandrayaan, India’s first unmanned mission to the moon.
Nair did his graduation in Electrical and Communication Engineering from the University of Kerala in 1966. He then underwent training at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Bombay. He joined the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) in 1967. During his six years tenure at ISRO, as many as 25 successful missions were accomplished. He took a keen interest in programmes such as tele-education and tele-medicine for meeting the needs of society at large. As a result, more than 31,000 classrooms have been connected under the EDUSAT network and telemedicine is extended to 315 hospitals – 269 in remote/rural/district hospitals including 10 mobile units and 46 super specialty hospitals.
He also initiated the Village Resource Centres (VRCs) scheme through satellite connectivity, which aims at improving the quality of life of the poor people in the villages. More than 430 VRCs have now access to information on important aspects like land use/land cover, soil and ground water prospects and enable the farmers in taking important decisions based on their query.
In the international arena, Madhavan Nair has led the Indian delegations for bilateral cooperation and negotiations with many space agencies and countries, especially with France, Russia, Brazil, Israel, etc., and has been instrumental in working out mutually beneficial international cooperative agreements.
Dr G. Madhavan Nair has led the Indian delegation to the S&T Sub-Committee of United Nations Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN-COPUOS) since 1998. He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest civilian award in 2009.