Dr. K. Sivan graduated from Madras Institute of Technology in Aeronautical engineering in 1980. He took his ME in Aerospace engineering from IISc, Bangalore in 1982. Subsequently, he completed his PhD in Aerospace engineering from IIT, Bombay in 2006. He is currently the Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Center in Thiruvananthapuram.
During his career at ISR0, he has held many responsibilities like Project Director, Re-usable Launch Vehicle - Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD); Project Director, Geosynchronous launch vehicle project (GSLV); and Director, Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC). He has more than 30 years of experience in the systems engineering of space transportation system, of leading diverse project teams for large and complex projects, of technology development and infrastructure set-up for ISRO's launch vehicle programs.
Dr. Sivan has contributed significantly in PSLV, GSLV and GSLV Mk-Ill vehicle design. He is the chief architect of 6D trajectory simulation software SITARA and Day of launch - wind biasing strategy for launch vehicles; Failure analysis and design improvements in GSLV launch vehicle; Flight testing of indigenous cryogenic stage; Design improvements in GSLV Mk-111 launch vehicle and evolved cost-effective strategy for Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) using PSLV. He made significant contribution in RLV-TD vehicle design; Auto-pilot design of RLVTD and revived GSLV program after two consecutive failures. He implemented strategy for upper stage (PS4) restart capability for PSLV which improves mission versatility by injecting different payloads in different orbits in a single mission; SCRAMJET engine flight test; Re-usable launch vehicle technology demonstrator (RLV-TD) flight test; Established Mission Synthesis and Simulation Facility, Parallel computing facility and Hypersonic Wind Tunnel Facility and initiated technology development program for Electric propulsion, LiIon cells, advanced avionics etc.
Based on hands-on experience in all the areas of launch vehicle design and realization, he published a book in Nov 2015 "Integrated Design for Space Transportation System" published by Springer, which highlights the end-to-end integrated design aspects, interactions between various systems and inter-dependencies of various launch vehicle systems. He is a Fellow of Indian National Academy of Engineering, Aeronautical Society of India, Systems Society of India and Indian Systems Society for Science and Engineering. He has received numerous awards throughout his career which includes Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) from Sathyabama University, Chennai in April 2014, The Distinguished Alumnus Award 2013 from MIT Alumni Association, Chennai, Dr. Biren Roy Space Science Award in 2011, ISRO merit award in 2007 and Shri Hari Om Ashram Prerit Dr. Vikram Sarabhai Research Award in 1999.
"I have vivid memories of lengthy interactions with professors and other faculty members who were friends, philosophers as well as guides. The professors at IIT Bombay not only honed my professional knowledge but also helped in improving my communication skills. I could also relate to the abundant greenery of the IIT Bombay campus. "---Dr. K. Sivan
"Hard work always pays. Always dwell into the details. Never leave unfinished work for someone else to complete. Achieve end goal by focusing more on present without worrying too much about past failures or future outcomes."