Dr. Vasantha Sastry
24/09/1999 - 31/12/1999

Dr. Vasantha Sastry obtained his Bachelor of Engineering Degree from the University of Mysore,Karnataka in 1961. His Master's degree(Aeronautics) was completed at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore in 1963. He obtained his doctorate in Aerodynamics from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore in 1970.

He joined Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram in 1971. He was the Section Head of Viscous Flows and Heat Transfer. He was responsible for the conception and realization of software to calculate the drag and heat transfer on rockets. It was at this time the first Indian Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV) was conceived.

He was deputed to Centre National d'etudes spatiales (CNES), Evry, France Stagiare, section Aerodynamique, Division Lanceurs in 1974 - 1977.1973 signifies a major landmark in the European Launch Vehicle Development Programme. The Europa Launch vehicle had ended in successive failures and the project had been shelved and a new Project for the development of the Ariane under the leadership of L'Aerospatiales, Les Mureaux, France had been undertaken. While L'Aerospatiales, as the prime contractor had the overall responsibility for the design and development, CNES was responsible for coordination and supervision of the French contribution in this effort. The French were in need of technical manpower. As part of an exchange and so called Training programme, he was deputed to work with the Aerodynamics design team at CNES, France. His work involved development of relevant Aerodynamics analysis software, coordination of similar effort at other centers, estimation of aerodynamic forces on the launch vehicle and participation in wind tunnel tests.

During the period 1977 - 1978, he was working as Assistant Director, Satellite systems and Launch vehicle coordination , INSAT-1 Satellite Project, ISRO, Bangalore, India. He was a member of the team which was responsible for :

  • Evolving the First RFP (request for proposal) for the multipurpose Indian National satellite (INSAT-1)
  • Evaluation of the proposals for the supply of the satellite
  • Conducting the technical, financial/ contractual negotiations with the bidders and finally selected the contractor
  • Initiating actions for the procurement of launch services from NASA

During the period 1978 - 1984 he was the Associate Project Director of INSAT-1 Satellite Project, Palo Alto, Ca, USA. As Leader of the team stationed at Palo Alto, CA, USA, he was responsible for:

  • Monitoring the production of the satellite at Ford Aerospace
  • Evaluation of progress and making milestone payments
  • Analysis and implementation of a number of design changes and improvements in test procedures
  • Managing all contractual, financial and technical interfaces with the contractor
  • Performed launch vehicle task coordination for launch of two satellites with NASA/MDAC (INSAT-1B on Delta 3910 and INSAT-1B on STS). He was nominated as User technical manager for both launches

Member of the team which conducted negotiations and finalised the launch services procurement contract with NASA. Conducted two satellite launch campaigns. Member of the INSAT-1A Failure analysis team. Recovery of INSAT-1A insurance claims.

During 1985 - 1987 he was the Associate Project Director, INSAT-1 Satellite Project, Bangalore. Operationalisation and on orbit maintenance of INSAT-1B satellite, On orbit testing and maintenance of the satellite control ground station. Conducted technical reviews of Mechanical systems of various satellites built by India of both remote sensing and geostationary types.

He was the Project Director of INSAT-1 Satellite Project, Bangalore, during 1988 - 1990. The satellites INSAT-1C and 1D were fabricated and launched during this period. New contracts were negotiated with Arianespace and McDonnell Douglas Corporation for these launches. During this period he was responsible for operations and maintenance of the complete geostationary satellite segment of India.

During 1991-94, he was the Deputy Director (Aeronautics entity) ,Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Trivandrum, India. The entity is primarily responsible for the aerodynamic, structural and thermal design, testing and qualification of all launch vehicles developed by ISRO and related tasks. He was the head of the team of nearly 300 highly qualified engineers. He has provided technical support and direction for the aerothermal and structural design of both PSLV and GSLV. During this period, he has contributed to the successful launch of ASLV D4 and three PSLV launches. He was also the chairman of the Special Design Review Committee for PSLV, and the PSLV/GSLV Launch Safety Committee. He has been the chairman of the mission review teams for all the major ISRO launches.

He was the Director of SHAR Centre, ISRO from 1994-1999.He has conducted a number of rocket launchings.During 2000-2003 he was a Visiting Professor in ISRO Headquarters, Bangalore. He is the chairman of a number of design committees and also member of launch review teams.

He has been awarded

  • Prize for the best Paper published in the Journal of Aeronautical Society of India in 1969
  • Biren Roy award for outstanding contribution to space technology in 1992
  • Distinguished Alumni Of the Department of Aeronautical Engineering, IISc, Bangalore in 1992