ISRO rocket launches are a national event in India, and the countdown to lift-off undoubtedly marks the most exciting phase.
Sadly, the voice that guided India through many launch countdowns is no more.
On Sunday (3 September), N Valarmathi, an ISRO scientist known for her voice on rocket launch countdowns in Sriharikota, passed away in Chennai due to a cardiac arrest. She was 64.
Valarmathi worked with the Range Operations Programme Office at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, where she was responsible for announcing the countdown for all launches, according to ISRO PRO.
"The voice of Valarmathi Madam will not be there for the countdowns of future missions of ISRO from Sriharikotta," said Dr P V Venkitakrishnan, a former ISRO director, on X.
"Chandrayan 3 was her final countdown announcement," he said, offering his "pranams."
Hear her voice just before the historic Chandrayaan-3 lift-off:
The scientist, hailing from Ariyalur and the daughter of a government employee, completed her schooling in Tamil medium.
She then pursued her pre-university course at the Government Arts College in Ariyalur before continuing her studies at the Government College of Technology in Coimbatore and finally at Anna University's Guindy campus, according to news agency ANI.
In 2015, Valarmathi was honoured by former Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa with the inaugural A P J Abdul Kalam award.
Valarmathi was conferred the award as she led the work on India’s first radar imaging satellite Risat-1, launched in April 2012.
She was then Programme Director, Microwave Remote Sening Programme, ISRO Satellite Centre, Bengaluru. RISAT-1 was a state-of-the-art microwave remote sensing satellite
"I dedicate the award to ISRO...," Valarmathi had said upon receiving the award.
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