Satish Dhawan (25 September 1920 – 3 January 2002) was an Indian mathematician and aerospace engineer. He was regarded as one of the most distinguished researchers in the field of turbulence and boundary layers in India.

Early Life and Education

He was born on 25 September 1920, in Jammu and Kashmir, India. He got a BA in Mathematics and Physics, a BE in Mechanical Engineering, and an MA in English Literature from the University of Punjab. From the University of Minnesota, he got his master’s in aeronautical engineering. In 1951, he earned his Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology in Aeronautics and Mathematics.


In 1957, he was a professor at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), and in 1962, he became its director.

He became the Chairman of the Space Commission, the Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), and the Secretary to the Department of Space in 1972. He was chairman of ISRO until 1984.

Satish Dhawan was given the responsibility of the country’s space program after Vikram Sarabhai. Professor Dhawan had made many positive changes at the Indian Institute of Science. He inducted young talent from his country as well as abroad into the institute. He also started many new departments and inspired the students to research in diverse fields.

Due to the efforts of Satish Dhawan, the dream of communication satellite INSAT, remote sensing satellite IRS and Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV was realized.

Under Prof. Dhawan, ISRO recognized the social problems of a developing nation and used space technology to steer the nation forward.


In 1971, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian award in India.

In 1981, he received the Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award in India.


He died on 3 January 2002, in Karnataka, India.

Tags: , ,