S. Somanath Age, Wife, Children, Family, Biography & More

Quick Info→
Wife: Valsalakumari
Age: 59 Years
Hometown: Aroor, Alappuzha District, Kerala

S. Somanath

Full nameSomanath Sreedhara Panicker
Profession(s)• Aerospace Engineer
• Rocket Technologist
Famous RoleBeing appointed as the tenth chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) in January 2022
Physical Stats & More
Eye ColourBlack
Hair ColourBlack
Awards, Honours, Achievements • In 2009, he also received the Performance Excellence award from ISRO.
• In July 2018, he received the honorary doctorate by Satyabhama University Chennai.
• In October 2019, he won the National Aeronautics Prize by Aeronautical Society of India.
• In October 2020, he received the honorary doctorate by Centurion University Bhubaneswar.
• He won a Gold Medal while pursuing the Master's Programme.
• He received the Space Gold Medal from Astronautical Society of India.
• He also won the Team excellence award for GSLV Mk-III realisation.
• On 1 November 2023, he was honoured with the second highest civilian honour of the Karnataka Rajyotsava Prashasti (also known as Rajyotsava Awards) at the 68th Karnataka Rajyotsava.
Personal Life
Date of BirthJuly 1963
Age (as of 2022) 59 Years
BirthplaceAroor, Alappuzha, Kerala
HometownAroor, Alappuzha district, Kerala
School St Augustine’s School, Aroor
College/University• Maharaja's College, Ernakulam
• TKM College of Engineering, Kollam, Kerala University
• Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
• Indian Institute of Technology, Madras
Educational Qualification [1]S.Somanath - Linkedin• He pursued pre degree program at Maharaja's College, Ernakulam. (1978-1980)
• He pursued graduation in Mechanical Engineering at TKM College of Engineering, Kollam, Kerala University. (1980-1985)
• He pursued a Master's Degree in Aerospace Engineering (specialization in Dynamics and Control) at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. (1994-1995)
• In 2008, he joined the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras to pursue PhD in Mechanical Engineering.
EthnicityMalayali [2]Financial Express
AddressM-13, Murali Nagar, Thiruvananthapuram-695022 Ambalamukku, Peroorkada, Kerala, India, PO, Trivandrum-695 005,
Somanath's address
Relationships & More
Marital StatusMarried
Wife/SpouseValsala Somanath (works at Goods and Services Tax department)
Somanath with his family
ChildrenSon- Madhav
Daughter- Malika
ParentsFather- Sreedhara Panicker (Teacher)
Mother- Thankamma
Money Factor
Salary (as of 2019)Rs. 2.25 lakh [3]The Times of India
S. Somanath

Some Lesser Known Facts About S. Somanath

  • S. Somanath is an Indian Aerospace Engineer and Rocket Technologist who was assigned as the tenth chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) in January 2022. He became the fourth Malayali to be appointed for the post of chairman after K Kasturirangan, G Madhavan Nair, and K Radhakrishnan. [4]The Quint
  • He majorly worked to launch vehicle design, engineering, structural design, structural dynamics, and pyrotechnics.
  • Before Somanath was appointed as the chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation, K. Sivan served the position.
  • He achieved the second rank while he was pursuing his graduation. After completing his graduation, in 1985, he joined the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre and worked on the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) project. In 1994, when a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle was stopped from launch due to some problem, Somanath fixed the problem and within a few minutes, the rocket was again ready to be launched.

    Somanath in ISRO

    Somanath in ISRO

  • In an interview, he said that despite being a Hindi teacher, his father used to buy him science books in both English and Malayalam languages. [5]DNA
  • When he was in college, he made a request to his professor to teach him propulsion, which was a part of rocketry subject and was not taught in engineering.
  • He was a big fan of cinema and was a member of the Film Society in Thiruvananthapuram.
  • In 2010, he was given the charge as an associate director (projects) of VSSC and the project director of the GSLV Mk-III launch vehicle.
  • In 2014, he also served as the deputy director of the Propulsion and Space Ordinance Entity. On December 18, 2014, under his leadership, the first experimental flight of the LVM3-X/CARE mission was completed.
  • Somanath also worked as the Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram from 2018 to 2022, and as the Director of Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC), Thiruvananthapuram from 2015 to 2018.
  • He was an active member of the Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE), the Aeronautical Society of India (AeSI), the Astronautical Society of India (ASI), and a corresponding member of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA).
  • He has given speeches at many Ted Talks about his life.

    Somanath during TED Talks

    Somanath during TED Talks

  • In January 2022, he was appointed as the tenth chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for a three-year term. After getting appointed, in an interview, he talked about this and said,

    It’s a really proud moment for me and for all those who are associated with me. I am really humbled by this assignment and look forward to the challenging times ahead. I would like to bring the benefit of space programme to everybody and also meet the national needs. Apart from this, we need to expand it further and reach higher in terms of space economy.”

  • In an interview, he talked about the focus of the organisation during his tenure. He said,

    Areas of focus will be technology, policy, implementation and areas where stakeholders need to be taken care of. There are different segments that we need to concentrate on. Looking at the technology side we are the powerhouse of technology various disciplines. We need to bring new approach methods so that available can be best utilized. There are many new technologies too. We need to bring in newer approaches; have to work with various capacity builders like tech companies.”

  • The Chief Minister of Kerala, Shri. Pinarayi Vijayan also congratulated him through a tweet for being chosen for the post.

  • Somanath was diagnosed with cancer on 2 September 2023, the same day the spacecraft Aditya-L1 was launched. He later underwent surgery and chemotherapy after which he recovered completely. [6]India Today