N Valarmathi, the scientist who lent her voice to ISRO countdowns, including Chandrayaan-3, no more

Scientist Valarmathi, who did the countdown for several missions, passed away in Chennai on 2 September, following a cardiac arrest.

BySouth First Desk

Published Sep 04, 2023 | 5:18 PMUpdatedSep 04, 2023 | 5:18 PM

ISRO scientist N Valarmathi. (X)

ISRO scientist N Valarmathi, who did the countdown for several space missions, including Chandrayaan-3, passed away in a Chennai hospital on Saturday, 2 September. She died of a cardiac arrest, an official announced on 4 September.

Chandrayaan-3 was her last countdown assignment.

Condolences pour in

Condolences poured in for Valarmathi. Many fondly recalled her resonating countdown from the Mission Control Centre at ISRO’s Sriharikota spaceport during many launches.

Dr PV Venkitakrishnan, former ISRO Director, said, “The voice of Valarmathi Madam will not be there for the countdowns of future missions of ISRO from Sriharikota. Chandrayaan 3 was her final countdown announcement,” he tweeted.

Also Read: Pragyan rover takes pictures of Vikram lander on Moon surface

In his social media post, Minister of State for Entrepreneurship, Skill Development, Electronics & Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar expressed grief over Valarmathi’s demise.

“Saddened to hear about the passing of N Valarmathi ji, the voice behind many ISRO launch countdowns, including Chandrayaan-3. My condolences to her family and friends,” he said on X.

Also Read: ISRO puts Chandrayaan-3 rover Pragyan to ‘sleep’

“That countdown echo which pounded our hearts during #Chandrayaan3 has muted forever! Saddened by the demise of #ISRO scientist N Valarmathi ji, who lent her voice on countdowns for rocket launches, including Chandrayaan-3 mission, being her last one, has passed away due to cardiac arrest,” wrote Nizamabad MP Arvind Dharmapuri.

The Chandrayaan-3 mission

India, on 23 August, scripted history as ISRO’s Chandrayaan-3 Lander Module (LM) touched down on the lunar surface, making it only the fourth country to accomplish the feat and the first to reach the uncharted south pole of Earth’s only natural satellite.

On 26 August, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the decision to name the spot where the lander made its soft landing as “Shiv Shakti Point” and the site where the Chandrayaan-2 lander crash-landed on the Moon’s surface in 2019 as “Tiranga Point”.

He also announced that 23 August would be celebrated as National Space Day.

Meanwhile, the ILSA payload on the Chandrayaan-3 lander to study lunar seismic activity has not only recorded the movements of the rover and other payloads, but has also recorded an event, appearing to be a natural one, on 26 August. “The source of this event is under investigation,” ISRO said.

Another instrument onboard the rover Pragyan has confirmed the presence of sulphur in the lunar region, through a different technique, ISRO said. The Alpha Particle X-ray Spectroscope (APXS) has detected sulpher and other minor elements.

On 2 September, the Pragyan rover had been set into “sleep” mode. At present, the battery is fully charged and the solar panel is oriented to receive light at the next sunrise, expected on 22 September 2023.

(With PTI inputs)