Today, women cannot be restrained or prevented from doing anything they choose. They have emerged from their shells, spread their wings, and flown far in the sky, winning medals, receiving recognition, and triumphing across international boundaries, bringing honor to India and encouraging so many of us that there is no barrier we cannot scale. Women can shine brightly in any field they choose to enter with their feet. 

Nandini Harinath
Nandini Harinath

At the ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) Satellite Centre in Bengaluru, Nandini Harinath works as a rocket scientist. She was a team member of Maangalyaan, the Mars Orbiter Mission. The mission planning, analysis, and operations—Outline of important components is a research paper that she co-authored. Nandini’s first employment application was to ISRO, where she has worked for more than 20 years.

Early Life

In Bangalore, India, Nandini Harinath was born in 1971.  She pursued engineering and graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering and a Master of Computer Science. She was born into a family where her mother was a teacher and her father was an engineer. She has always been fascinated by science, especially physics. She was obsessed with science and had always imagined herself as a scientist. 

Professional Career

After watching the well-known Star Trek television series, Nandini initially found inspiration in outer space. In addition to being the project manager and mission designer for the Mars Orbiter Mission, she has 20 years of experience working on 14 missions at ISRO.

She continues by saying that she is proud to see Mangalyaan’s image on the Rs. 2000 banknote. Nandani acknowledges that the task was difficult, but everyone contributed to its achievement. According to her, the scientists first put in 10 hours a day, but as the mission’s launch date approached, they increased their workday to 12 to 14 hours. According to Nandini, scientists used to work on their toes during launch and take a few hours off after 20 to 22 hours of work.

She experienced one of her proudest experiences while working on the Mars Orbiter Mission, or Mangalyaan. Imagine the excitement of helping a mission that will put India on the interplanetary map. In order to properly manoeuvre a spaceship through the complex dance of space and orbit the Red Planet, Nandini’s knowledge and commitment were crucial. It was a huge accomplishment that made the whole country beam with pride.

Chandrayaan Mission

In addition, Nandini Harinath participated in the Chandrayaan lunar exploration missions for India. We now know more about the Moon’s surface and its geological features thanks to these missions.

However, Nandini’s journey continued on. She kept shining as a compass in India’s space exploration story. Nandini’s narrative is one of unrelenting pursuit, from the Chandrayaan missions that revealed the mysteries of the Moon to her continued contributions that push the limits of human understanding. She overcame each obstacle by using it as a stepping stone to reach greater heights.

Learnings from Nandini Harinath

Despite the fact that there are much more men than women at ISRO, Nandini says she is proud to work for a company that does not practise gender discrimination. This is seen in the large number of female scientists working on the Mangalyaan expedition. She claims that because she is treated equally, being a woman in the field has never made her feel any different. The statement made by Nandini is “I would like to be known as a scientist, not a woman scientist.” 

Nothing, in Nandini’s opinion, prevents women from entering the field. She asserts, “It’s a myth that women aren’t interested in maths and science.” For all the ladies out there with high dreams, she serves as an inspiration. She advises them  “All of you should have a dream. But make sure you have a passion to drive that dream. It’s not going to be easy. You won’t always get success wherever you go. You have to be persistent. It may sound cliche, but that’s all it is.”

Final Thoughts

Young people, especially women, who want to work in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and maths can find inspiration from Nandini’s journey. Her experience serves as a reminder of the value of tenacity, passion, and challenging gender norms in professions that have historically been dominated by men. Her adventure serves as a reminder that not even the vastness of space can quench the human spirit’s insatiable urge to discover, succeed, and strive for greatness.