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Meet Nigar Shaji, the woman behind India's solar mission Aditya-L1

Shaji who has been an important person behind the successful launch of Aditya-L1 joined the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in 1987.

Edited By: Shubham Verma

Published: Sep 02, 2023, 05:59 PM IST

Nigar Shaji speaking after the successful launch of Aditya-L1
Nigar Shaji speaking after the successful launch of Aditya-L1

Story Highlights

  • Nigar Shaji joined ISRO in 1987.
  • She belongs to Shengottai in Tamil Nadu.
  • Shaji did her M.Tech from Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi.

Women’s power at the Indian space agency is slowly coming to the fore and that too in the interplanetary missions. The latest is Nigar Shaji, Project Director for Aditya-L1 mission, India’s mission to the Sun. A native of Shengottai in Tamil Nadu, the 59-year-old Shaji did her schooling in a government school there. A bright student – she stood district first in her 10th standard and school first in her 12th standard.

Completing her engineering degree in a college in Tirunelveli, Shaji completed her M.Tech from Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi and then joined the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in 1987. Over the years she was involved in various projects and the responsibility of heading Aditya-L1 came to her about eight years back.

“I have been heading this complex project for eight years. It was a challenging project. To place the spacecraft in the halo orbit itself is a major challenge. Further, the payloads were also first of its kind,” Shaji told IANS. She said her husband, a mechanical engineer, is working in Dubai, her son a PhD is working in the Netherlands and her daughter is a qualified doctor and is studying post-graduation.

It may be recalled that two women played a key role in the Chandrayaan-2 mission viz., the Project Director M.Vanitha and the Mission Director Ritu Karidhal Srivastava. Similarly, in the case of Chandrayaan-3, Kalpana, the Deputy Director played a key role.

Aditya-L1 mission

ISRO on Saturday announced that it has successfully launched the Aditya-L1 solar mission spacecraft to the point from where it will begin its journey to the Lagrange Point L1, which is about 1.5 million kilometres from the Earth in the Sun-Earth system. A satellite placed in the halo orbit around the L1 point has the major advantage of continuously viewing the Sun without any occultation/eclipses. This will provide a greater advantage in observing solar activities and their effect on space weather in real-time. The Aditya-L1 is carrying seven payloads, each featuring a different capability that will be instrumental in reading solar phenomena.

— Written with inputs from IANS

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Author Name | Shubham Verma


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