Home : About Us : Directors : Shri P. Kunhikrishnan Last updated on: 03-Jun-2021

Shri P. Kunhikrishnan

[Tenure : 2018 - 2021]


Shri P. Kunhikrishnan, a Distinguished Scientist (Apex Scale) of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and Member of Space Commission, Govt. of India was Director, URSC from August 2018 to May 2021.

He 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, on 1st August, 2018. During his tenure, he spearheaded the satellite fraternity in ISRO towards realising various types of satellites to meet the increasing national requirements in the areas like communication, navigation, remote sensing, meteorology and inter-planetary exploration.

During his tenure, 14 State-of-the-art satellites were realised. These satellites carried and demonstrated several new technologies in orbit. In order to realise increasing number of satellites, comprehensive augmentation activities in diverse areas were given greater thrust and multiple high end facilities were realised including SPADEX Rendezvous Simulation facility, new Dynamic Test Facility, Battery and Solar Panel Laboratories, Magnetic test facility, Cleanrooms for scientific payloads(Class 100 & Class 1000), Mission Analysis Centres(MAC 1&2) for remote operations, new HMC Fabrication facility, CATF facility(progressing) etc. Under his leadership, URSC received the IS0 9001:2015 corporate certification. He envisioned and realised a grand entrance to the Centre, 'Gateway to URSC' in addition to realising several employee oriented facility developments like opening a Sports complex, Modernisation of Devanahalli Guest House, Creche at ISITE, Modern conference hall, Multipurpose hall etc. He played a vital role in hosting the IAA-ASI International Symposium on Human Spaceflight programme. He was instrumental in providing major thrust for R&D initiative in the Centre in a balanced manner along with Satellite Projects.

Before assuming charge as Director, URSC, he was the Director of Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota, the Spaceport of India, from 1st June, 2015 to 31st July, 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 had undergone a major transformation towards an international class launch base, through six major projects, known as SHAR Projects, in diversified areas, to meet the demands of future decades. He also conceived and initiated the project of establishing the modern 'Visitors Complex' to enable 10,000 visitors to witness the satellite launch at Sriharikota.

Prior to his taking over as the Director of SDSC SHAR, he had played a 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.

Shri P. Kunhikrishnan joined ISRO at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in 1986 after obtaining B.Tech in Electronics & Communication from College of Engineering, Trivandrum. 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).

His talk on TEDx can be found at https://www.youtube.com/embed/IbLNOfZcGLI

      Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science from:

  • LNCT University, Bhopal in the year 2021.
  • GITAM University in the year 2019.
  • Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU) in 2016.
Key positions in International Bodies:
  • During 2018 - 2021, he was Chairman, Working Group of the Whole (WGW) in United Nations Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer space (UNCOPUOS) at Vienna.
  • During 2019 - 2021, he was Co-Chair, ISRO-DLR (German) working group on space subject.
  • During 2020 - 2021, he was Co-Chair, Indo-US Civil Space Joint Working Group (CSJWG).
  • He is a Member, International Academy of Astronautics (IAA)
  • Eminent Engineer Award-2020 by Institution of Engineers (India), Tamilnadu State Centre.
  • ISRO Outstanding Achievement Award for the year 2018.
  • Vigyan Pratibha Samman 2017 by the Government of Madhya Pradesh.
  • Swadesi Sastra Puraskar for the year 2015.
  • ISRO Performance Excellence Award in 2013.
  • ISRO Team Excellence Award-2013 as Team Leader of PSLV C-25/Mars Orbiter Mission.
  • Astronautical Society of India (ASI) award for the year 2011.
  • ISRO Individual Merit Award for the year 2010.
Affiliation to Professional Bodies:
  • National President (December 2014 - March 2021), Indian Society of Systems for Science & Engineering - ISSE
  • Fellow of Indian National Academy of Engineers - INAE
  • Fellow of AP Academy of Sciences
  • Fellow of Institution of Electronics & Telecommunication Engineers - IETE