ISRO Scientist V R Lalithambika Awarded Légion d’Honneur for Space Cooperation with France

Bengaluru, India: V R Lalithambika, former Director of the Directorate of the Human Spaceflight Programme at ISRO, has been honored with the prestigious French civilian award, Légion d’Honneur, for her exceptional contributions to space cooperation between France and India.

The award, presented by Ambassador Thierry Mathou on behalf of the French government, recognizes Lalithambika’s outstanding service and dedication to fostering collaboration in the field of space exploration.

A distinguished scientist and specialist in advanced launch vehicle technology, Lalithambika played a pivotal role in various ISRO projects, notably the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). In her tenure as the Director of the Human Spaceflight Programme in 2018, she closely collaborated with the French National Space Agency (CNES) for India’s ambitious Gaganyaan project.

Her contributions included coordinating the first joint agreement between CNES and ISRO on human spaceflight facilitating the exchange of specialists to work on space medicine. Additionally, Lalithambika played a key role in signing a second agreement in 2021, focusing on the training of India’s flight physicians and CAPCOM mission control teams by the French space agency.

Expressing his delight, French Ambassador Mathou commended Lalithambika as a trailblazer in space technology, shaping a new chapter in Indo-French space collaboration. Lalithambika, upon receiving the award, expressed her hope that this honor would inspire more women to pursue STEM careers and excel in their chosen fields.

The Légion d’Honneur, created by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802, stands as a testament to Lalithambika’s significant contributions to space exploration and her role in strengthening the partnership between France and India in the realm of space technology.