Tarmak007 -- A bold blog on Indian defence: Mom ‘n’ Missiles: Agniputhri keeps her word with A-IV launch | Tessy says it's her birthday gift to mother

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mom ‘n’ Missiles: Agniputhri keeps her word with A-IV launch | Tessy says it's her birthday gift to mother


THE RIGHT CALL: Tessy Thomas, Agni-IV, Project Director, at the launch site in Wheeler Island. This photo was taken on December 9, 2010, a day before the missile's (then called as A2 Prime) failed mission. 

By Anantha Krishnan M
Express News Service
Bangalore: Her big-ticket nuke-toy Agni-IV hit the target bang in 20 minutes after cruising over 3,000 km from the launch pad in Wheeler Island on Tuesday, November 15. Inside the Block Office (a special concrete shelter that can withstand a nuclear explosion or the impact if a missile misfires and falls over it) 48-year-old Tessy Thomas, Project Director, Agni-IV, was closely tracking her surface-to-surface pet, obediently following the trajectory as per the text book plans. Moments later, India’s first woman scientist to head a sensitive missile project broke down with joy. Very few knew that she had finally kept her word given to her mother Kunjamma Thomas, a qualified teacher, who lives alone in Allapuzaha (Kerala).
“It was a beautiful launch. My colleagues lifted me and it was a very emotional moment in my life. I called my mother immediately. It is my birthday gift and she turns 75 next month,” Tessy told The New Indian Express. Last year, the maiden launch of Agni-IV (then called as A-II Prime) clashed with her mother’s birthday. “I had promised that it would be my birthday gift to her. Unfortunately, the connector snapped just seconds after the lift-off and the mission failed,” Tessy told this correspondent, who too witnessed the launch from Wheeler Island, then.
Since the failure last year, Tessy and her team had gone through an hectic schedule ensuring that everything, including the missile, fell in place. “It’s an exciting feeling now. I owe it to my mother and my colleagues who believed in me. Everyone writes us off, the moment something goes wrong,” says Tessy, who works with Defence Research and Development Organization’s (DRDO) Hyderabad-based Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL).
On Tuesday, she was at the launch site till 2 am and was back at the site by 4 am. “My mother told me that there’s always a second chance and I really prayed hard. The success is the result of team work and there are hundreds who worked for the project,” she said.
DRDO chief Dr V K Saraswat says that Tessy is a simple soul, but a go-getter. “Her dedication inspires all of us. She is a role model for youngsters in DRDO. Her commitment is matchless and India needs more Tessys,” he says. Echoing his sentiments was Avinash Chander,  Chief Controller (Missiles and Strategic Systems), DRDO. “I am lucky to have such a pupil. She treats me as her guru and her zero-attitude has definitely done wonders,” says Avinash.
So how's the Agniputhri celebrating the success of Agni-IV? “Life continues as usual. I will be with my mother for her birthday,” says Tessy.
(A similar version of the above report appeared in today's The New Indian Express.)
Also recommended to read: Agni 2 Prime failed, but nobody died! 

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