InGARSS Inaugural

Date: December 7, 2021
Time 9:00 to 10:30 A.M. (IST)

Address by President, IEEE GRSS

David Kunkee


David Kunkee (S'88–M'96–SM'04) received the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, in 1995. He joined The Aerospace Corporation in 1995 and is currently Senior Project Leader within the Sensor Systems Subdivision. From 2010 to 2014 he was a member of the Environmental Satellite Systems Division as part of the Defense Weather Satellite System (DWSS) and Weather System Follow-on (WSF) program offices. From 2006 to 2010 he was a member of the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Integrated Program Office (IPO) and led the Aerospace Microwave Sensors and Data Products Department within the NPOESS IPO. From 2002 to 2005 he was the Associate Director of the Radar and Signal Systems Department at Aerospace. Dr. Kunkee has served on several review boards on space-based sensors and technology for environmental monitoring and associated mission development.

Dr. Kunkee currently serves as President of the IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society (GRSS). He was General Co-Chair of the 2017 International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS) and served as Co-Chair of the Technical Program Committee for IGARSS 2010. From 2007 to 2009 he was Editor-in-Chief of the GRSS Newsletter. Dr. Kunkee is currently an Associate Editor of the IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing (JSTARS) and has served as Guest Editor for past special issues of the IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing (TGRS), and a special section of the IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation. He is the current Secretary of USNC-URSI Commission F and has served on the U.S. National Academies’ Committee on Radio Frequencies (CORF) including its Committee on Scientific Use of the Radio Spectrum.

Inaugural Address by Chief Guest

K. VijayRaghavan


Professor K. VijayRaghavan is the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, succeeding Dr. R. Chidambaram on April 3, 2018 and the Chairperson of Prime Minister’s Science, Technology & Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC). He was Secretary, Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India from January 28, 2013 to February 2, 2018.

The Principal Scientific Adviser works with all arms of the Government, with our States, our citizens, national and international agencies. The goal is that the benefits of science, technology and innovation solutions reach the most needy, for the sustainable development of India and for the well being of our planet.

VijayRaghavan is also a Distinguished Professor at the National Centre of Biological Sciences (NCBS), Tata Institute of Fundamental Research Bangalore (TIFR) and was the NCBS Director till 2013. He studied Chemical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research was a Senior Research Fellow at the California Institute of Technology. His research is on nerves and muscles and how complex behaviour emerges during animal development.

VijayRaghavan is a Fellow of the Indian Science Academies, the Royal Society, the Academy of Medical Sciences (UK) and a Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences. He was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2013.

Keynote Address

R. Umamaheswaran


Shri Umamaheswaran R, born on May 20, 1963, completed his BTech in Electronics & Communication Engineering from College of Engineering, Trivandrum and Masters in Software System from BITS, Pilani. He also holds a Masters degree in Russian Language from Kerala University. His interests include launch vehicle technology, programme management, science and technology related policies. He is a domain expert in in the field of launch vehicle system electrical integration, checkout, ground station, avionics, system engineering as well as in space policy planning.

Shri Umamaheswaran is with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for over a period of nearly 34 years. He has worked in Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre of ISRO for 32 years in various capacities including the Project Director of GSLV from July, 2014 and Deputy Director of VSSC in Avionics entity from May, 2017.

Shri Umamaheswaran is presently the Scientific Secretary of ISRO at ISRO HQ, Bangalore and Distinguished Scientist of ISRO. In his current capacity, he is responsible for the overall Policy, Planning and Programs of ISRO. He is also leading the programme office of Technology Development and Innovation of ISRO HQ.

He has played significant role in drafting the sectoral reforms in Space towards Atmanirbhar Bharath vision and also in drafting the Space Activities Bill. He was the Chair of the High Level Interim Committee in lieu of IN-SPACe functioned in ISRO/DOS to implement the space sector reforms announced by Government of India to enhance participation of private sector in space activities. In this capacity, he was instrumental in providing access to ISRO facilities for testing the space systems from private industries for their space activities, for bringing in a national registration mechanism for Indian space objects and also for launching four student satellites in PSLV.

He has immensely contributed to ISRO’s international cooperation by serving as the cochair of Joint Working Groups with many space agencies ROSCOSMOS (Russia) JAXA (Japan); ESA (Europe); NSSA (Bahrain); CRTS & CRERS (Morocco); ASAL (Algeria); CONAE (Argentina); MDAI (Kazakhstan); EgSA (Egypt). He has been part of Indian delegation to many International Astronautical Congresses. He also signed the Joint Declaration of Interest for Space Climate Observatory (SCO) at Paris in June 2019 on behalf of ISRO.

He represented India in UNCOPUOS meeting in June 2019 and led the ISRO delegation in APRSAF 2020. He has been elected as the Chair of Working Group on Long Term Sustainability of Space Activities in UNCOPUOS Scientific and Technical Subcommittee. As LTS chair, he is working with UN member countries for bringing out international guidelines for the long-term sustainability of outer space activities.

During his tenure in VSSC, he was actively involved in the system integration, checkout and avionics of ISRO’s launch vehicles viz, PSLV, GSLV & GSLV-Mk III. He has been the Chief Designer (Integration) of major subassemblies including Equipment Bay of ISRO’s operational Launch vehicles. One of his significant contributions was the design of themission critical circuits residing in the launch vehicle including the entire pyro chains.

He has successfully accomplished three successive GSLV missions as its Mission Director. He was also the Vehicle Director for the remarkably successful GSLV D5/GSAT-14 Mission with the indigenous cryo stage. He led the Operational Launch Vehicle Team of Avionics Production, Hardware Production, Structural analysis and Control guidance to enable & successfully deliver the products for the increased frequency of PSLV, GSLV and GSLV Mk III missions.

As Deputy Director of Avionics Entity, VSSC he was entrusted with the task of leading a team of young Engineers, for the development of miniaturized avionics. He also spearheaded the induction of Electro Mechanical Actuation Systems in Launch Vehicle control systems.

Subsequently, he was assigned to serve as Associate Scientific Secretary of ISRO at ISRO HQ, Bangalore from May to August 2018 and later elevated to his current role as Scientific Secretary, ISRO.

He is also currently member of Member of Board of Trustees of International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) and member of IN-SPACe Board.

Shri Umamaheswaran is a member of several international and national bodies of engineering and science, including Member for Section 2 on Engineering Sciences of IAA, Fellow of Aeronautical Society of India (AeSI) and Astronautical Society of India (ASI), Life Member of Systems Society of India (SSI) and Indian Society for Advancement of Materials and Process Engineering (ISAMPE). He was the National Vice President for Indian Society of Systems, Science and Engineering (ISSE) and is President of ISSE Bangalore Chapter.

Shri Umamaheswaran has won several awards including ISRO Individual Merit Award-2013, ISRO Team Award-2006 (PSLV), ISRO Team Award-2014 (GSLV) and ISRO Outstanding Achievement Award 2018. He also received the ASI-ISRO Award for the year 2016. He is recipient of Honoris Causa from the Sathyabama Institute of Science and Technology, Chennai (2019).