Shri P. Kunhikrishnan, Distinguished Scientist of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) assumed as Director of U.R. Rao Satellite Centre (URSC), the lead Centre in the country for design, development and realization of all the satellites of ISRO, from August 01, 2018. As Director of the Satellite Centre, he is spearheading the satellite fraternity in ISRO to build all the satellites to meet the increasing national requirements in several areas like communication, navigation, remote sensing, meteorology and inter-planetary exploration. Before assuming charge as Director, URSC, he was the Director of Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, (SDSC-SHAR), Sriharikota, the Spaceport of India, from June 01, 2015 to July 31, 2018. As Director, he was leading the entire operations of the Spaceport, and was instrumental in providing world class launch service facilities to meet the requirements of our country as well as commercial launches of other nations. Under his dynamic leadership, the team could professionally execute multiple launch campaigns of different missions in quick succession. Due to his excellent foresight and meticulous planning, the Spaceport has geared up for a major transformation towards an international class launch base, through six major projects, known as SHAR Projects, in diversified areas, to meet the demands for future decades. He also conceived and initiated a project of establishing a modern visitor's complex to enable 10000 visitors to witness the satellite launch at Sriharikota.
Prior to his taking over as the Director of SDSC-SHAR, he had played significant role as the Project Director of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV Project) from 1st June 2010 to 31st March 2015. During his tenure as Mission Director, 13 consecutive successful PSLV missions were accomplished, adding each of these to ISRO's cherished successes. These include the launch of India's prestigious Mars Orbiter(Mangalyaan) by PSLV-C25. The versatility of PSLV was utilized to its full extent to carry out different types of missions and to place satellites in Polar, Planar and Sub-Geosynchronous Transfer orbits, posing technological and managerial challenges for mission planning and execution. Shri P. Kunhikrishnan joined ISRO at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram in 1986. He has shouldered many responsible positions in ISRO such as Head of the Quality Division for Test & Evaluation in VSSC, Associate Project Director for PSLV-C12 & PSLV-C14, Project Director of PSLV-C15 to PSLV-C27 and Deputy Director, VSSC for Mechanisms, Vehicle Integration and Testing (MVIT). He is the National President of Indian Society of Systems for Science and Engineering (ISSE), Fellow of Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE), Fellow of Institution of Electrical & Telecom Engineering - IETE and Fellow of AP Academy of Sciences Shri P. Kunhikrishnan is the recipient of Swadesi Sastra Puraskar for the year 2015, Vigyan Pratibha Samman 2017 by the Government of Madhya Pradesh, ISRO Individual Merit Award for the year 2010, Astronautical Society of India (ASI) award for the year 2011, ISRO Performance Excellence Award in 2013, ISRO Team Excellence Award-2013 as Team Leader of PSLV C-25/Mars Orbiter Mission. He received Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science by Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU) and GITAM University. Shri P. Kunhikrishnan is the Chairman of Working Group of the Whole (WGW) of United Nations Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer space (UNCOPUOS) headquartered at Vienna. He is also the Co-Chair for ISRO-DLR (German Space Agency) working group to steer the space-cooperation between both countries.