G. Madhavan Nair (born October 31, 1943, in Kulasekharam in erstwhile Travancore state, (presently in Kanyakumari District) is the former Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation and Secretary to the Department of Space, Government of India since September 2003 and was also the Chairman, Space Commission. He was succeeded by K. Radhakrishnan.[1] He was also the Chairman of Governing Body of the Antrix Corporation, Bangalore. Madhavan Nair was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India's second highest civilian honour, on January 26, 2009.[2][3] He also served as the Chairman, Board of Governors, Indian Institute of Technology Patna until he stepped down voluntarily due to his alleged involvement in Antrix-Devas deal.[4]

Early life

Nair was born in Kulasekharam, Travancore State, (now in Kanyakumari district, Tamil Nadu), India to a middle-class Nair family. He graduated with a B.Sc. in Engineering (1966) from College of Engineering, Trivandrum, of the University of Kerala with specialization in Electronics & Communication Engineering. After his graduation, Nair attended a training program at the Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC) Training School, Mumbai.


Nair is a leading technologist in the field of rocket systems and has made significant contribution to the development of multi-stage satellite launch vehicles, achieving self-reliance in independent access to space using indigenous technologies. Nair and his team have advanced their work in the face of several challenges in the regime of technology denials by adopting several innovations and novel techniques to realise world class launch vehicle systems. India today has a pride of place amongst the space-faring nations in launch vehicle technology. Specifically, as Project Director, he led the development of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) which has since become the workhorse for launching mainly Indian remote sensing satellites.[5]

As Director of ISRO's largest R & D Centre, the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, he also saw India's Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) successfully come to fruition. Further, as Director of the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre of ISRO, he played a central role in the design and development of the crucial cryogenic engine for GSLV. A list of Positions held before is listed below:

2010–present Chairman, Centre for Management Development, Trivandrum
2003–09 Chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation, Bangalore
1999–2003 Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Trivandrum
1995–99 Director, Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre, Trivandrum
1994–96 Programme Director, ILVP, VSSC, Trivandrum
1988–95 Project Director, PSLV, Trivandrum
1984–88 Associate Project Director, PSLV, Trivandrum
1980–84 Head, Electronics Systems, VSSC, Trivandrum
1974–80 Project Engineer, SLV-3 Project, Trivandrum
1972–74 Project Manager, Telecommand System, VSSC, Trivandrum
1967–72 Head, Payload Integration Section, TERLS, Trivandrum

As Chairman of ISRO

As the Chairman of Indian Space Research Organization, Nair is entrusted with the responsibility for the development of space technology and its application to national development. During his tenure as Chairman, ISRO/Secretary, DOS, twenty seven successful missions were accomplished i.e., INSAT-3E, Resourcesat-1, Edusat, Cartosat-1, Hamsat-1, INSAT-4A, PSLV-C5, GSLV-F01, PSLV-C6, Cartosat-2, INSAT-4B, SRE-1, PSLV-C7,PSLV-C8, GSLV-F04, INSAT-4CR, PSLV-C10, Cartosat-2A, IMS-1,PSLV-C9, Chandrayaan-1, PSLV-C11, PSLV-C12, RISAT-2, ANUSAT, PSLV-C14 and Ocensat-2 . He has taken initiatives towards development of futuristic technologies to enhance the space systems capabilities as well as to reduce the cost of access to space. Nair has given major thrust for evolving application programmes such as tele-education and telemedicine for meeting the needs of society at large. As Chairman Space Commission, Nair is responsible for chalking out the future plan for space research in the country. Major thrust are in scientific exploration of outer space using the Astrosat and Chandrayaan (moon) missions apart from implementing schemes for telemedicine, tele-education and disaster management support systems. He is also providing guidance and leadership in undertaking new technology developments related to launch vehicle, spacecraft for communication, remote sensing and applications programmes to meet societal needs.

In the international arena, Nair has led the Indian delegations for bilateral cooperation and negotiations with many Space Agencies and Countries, specially with France, Russia, Brazil, Israel, etc., and has been instrumental in working out mutually beneficial international cooperative agreements. 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.

His main focus has always been to achieve self-reliance in the high technology areas and to bring the benefits of space technology to India's development, specially targeting the needs of the rural and poor sections of society.

Establishment of the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology

G. Madhavan Nair initiated and implemented the establishment of Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology in Thiruvananthapuram. There were some objections and impediments in its establishment.[citation needed]

Controversies in S-Band Devas Scam

The contract signed between Antrix Corporation and Devas Multimedia Private Limited on January 28, 2005 during his tenure as chairman of ISRO and secretary of Department of Space, created a lot of controversy in India. Following the controversy on January 25, 2012 he was barred from holding any government jobs, which government took for review recently.[6]

Additional responsibilities

Apart from being the Chairman, ISRO and Chairman, Space Commission, Mr. Nair is active in his contribution towards promotion of the space science and technology for the socio-economic benefit of India, he is also the Chairman of the Governing Body of the Antrix Corporation, Bangalore. He served National Remote Sensing Agency, Hyderabad as the Chairman of Governing Body till it became National Remote Sensing Center.

Taking into account his vast experience he had held many positions in ISRO. The notable ones include the president of Astronautical Society of India (ASI) in 2004, the president of Aeronautical Society of India (AeSI) in 2005 and currently the Vice-President of Scientific Activities Committee of IAA, since 2006. In August 2009, he was elected president of the International Academy of Astronautics. He is the only Indian and the first non-American to IAA. Nair will be the IAA president till 2015.[7]

Mr. Nair is the General President of 97th Indian Science Congress 2009-2010. Dr. Nair was first Chairman of the Board of Governors, Indian Institute of Technology Patna.[8]


Mr.Nair has won several awards such as National Aeronautical Award, FIE foundation's Award, Shri Om Prakash Bhasin Award, Swadeshi Sastra Puraskar Award, Vikram Sarabhai Memorial Gold Medal of the Indian Science Congress Association, Dr.Yelavarthy Nayudamma Memorial Award-2004, HK Firodia Award-2005, Fifth "Shri Balvantbhai Parekh Award", Lokmanya Tilak Award from Tilak Smarak Trust, "Sree Chithira Thirunal Award" from Sree Chithira Thirunal Trust, "MP Birla Memorial Award 2009", "Bhu Ratna Award", "Mohamed Abdu Rahiman Sahib National Award", "AV Rama Rao Technology Award", "Chanakya Award" etc., He has also received Gold Medal from the Prime Minister at the 94th Indian Science Congress at Chidambaram in 2007. He received M M Chugani award for 2006, conferred by Indian Physics Association at IIT Mumbai during March 2008. He was also conferred with "Raja Rammohan Puraskar" award on the 236th birth anniversary of Raja Rammohan Roy at Kolkata during May 2008.

The Government of India conferred Madhavan Nair the highly coveted awards Padma Bhushan in 1998 and Padma Vibhushan in 2009 in recognition of his services to the country and society.[9]



See also


  1. ^ Department of Space
  2. ^ "Padma Vibhushan for Kakodkar, Madhavan Nair, Nirmala". The Hindu. Chennai, India. January 26, 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-14. 
  3. ^ "Madhavan Nair dedicates Padma Vibhushan to ISRO staff". The Hindu. January 25, 2009. Archived from the original on 2009-02-25. Retrieved 2009-02-14. 
  4. ^ "Former ISRO chief steps down from IIT-Patna board". Times of India. 
  5. ^ Madhavan Nair at ISRO
  6. ^ One, India. "Web". News paper. one india. Retrieved 25 January 2012. 
  7. ^ G Madhavan Nair To Head International Academy of Astronautics Archived 2009-09-12 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ Board of Governors, IIT Patna
  9. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 15, 2014. Retrieved July 21, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Satyarthi's '3D' model: Dream, discover, do". Times of India. Retrieved 3 October 2015. 

External links

Government offices
Preceded by
K. Kasturirangan
ISRO Chairman
Succeeded by
K. Radhakrishnan