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Women empowerment in India is not a far fetched dream any more. With the launch of ISRO's first-ever women-led inter-planetary mission Chandrayaan-2, India proudly boasted of its true women power. As the ambitious spacecraft blasted off on Monday, July 22, the entire nation basked in the glory of the achievements of two superwomen - scientists Muthayya Vanitha and Ritu Karidhal.
India's second visit to the moon has been made possible due to months of tireless efforts. The brilliant team, had two women at the forefront for the first time in Indian history. Ace scientist Muthaya Vanitha worked as the project director, while mission director Ritu Karidhal is responsible for navigating Chandrayaan-2 to the moon. According to ISRO Chairman Dr K Sivan, 30 per cent of the members working on this prestigious mission are women.
Among colleagues, Muthayya Vanitha is known for her extraordinary problem-solving skills and team management capabilities. After spending 32 years in ISRO, this electronics and communication engineer from Chennai was handed the responsibility of heading the mission. Though reluctant in the beginning, she trusted the instincts of M Annadurai (the Project Director of Chandrayaan 1), who believed that she would make for the ideal Director and was diligent in his belief throughout.
"I joined here as junior most engineer. So I worked in the lab, testing carts, making hardware, designing developing and then reached a managerial position," reminisced Ms Vanitha. "I can easily understand the other persons mindset and I can get along with them and we have all been together for so many years... I also learn understand what each person's role and their responsibility and I respect the input I get from them," she added. Ms Vanitha managed the data handling systems for India's remote sensing satellites.
On the other hand, 'rocket woman' Ritu Karidhal, an aerospace engineer, has 22 years of work experience in ISRO. She was the Deputy Operations Director for ISRO's Mangalyaan mission and played an important role in navigating the spacecraft to the Red Planet. A graduate of Lucknow University, Karidhal completed her Master's degree from Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru. She received several accolades, including the "ISRO Team Award for MOM, 2015" and the award of "Women Achievers in Aerospace, 2017".
The credit for the project equally goes to the team members who tenaciously supported these two leaders in their pursuit of making history.
"At ISRO, there is no difference between man and woman. All will have the equal share and they will take the load and they will be able to contribute also so that way," Dr Sivan said.
ISRO posted a range of magical pictures on twitter after the lift-off.
While team Chandrayaan-2 is gearing up for a perfect landing on the moon, the team of Bollywood film Mission Mangal is also making headlines for featuring the real-life stories of ISRO scientists. The film is based on India's first interplanetary expedition to Mars and revolves around the lives of prominent scientists who were responsible for the mission. Though the recently released trailer looks promising, it took some flak for highlighting Akshay Kumar's character. Actor Vidya Balan, however, handled the criticism with humour and defended her film by saying, it was "because men are from Mars".
Chandrayaan-2 took off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh at 2.43 pm on July 22. If everything goes well, India will stand out as the fourth country in the world to pull off a challenging landing on the moon, that too at an exceptionally low cost. Nevertheless, the countrymen cannot stop taking pride in this extraordinary feat of Team ISRO already!
PM Modi took to twitter to congratulate the team.
Special moments that will be etched in the annals of our glorious history!— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) 22 July 2019
The launch of #Chandrayaan2 illustrates the prowess of our scientists and the determination of 130 crore Indians to scale new frontiers of science.
Every Indian is immensely proud today! pic.twitter.com/v1ETFneij0