On 69th Independence Day, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa awarded the first APJ Abdul Kalam award to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientist N. Valarmathi, Programme Director, Microwave Remote Sening Programme, ISRO Satellite Centre (Bangalore) at Fort St. George in Chennai.
- Valarmathi led the team that successfully launched Radar Imaging Satellite RISAT-1 in 2012.
- RISAT-1 a technologically superior imaging satellite, had instruments such as the Synthetic Aperture Radar that could look through clouds and take images even during the night.
- Valarmathi has been working with the ISRO for the past 32 years.
- She has been in the part of missions including Insat 2A, IRS IC, IRS ID, TES, she became involved in the indigenously made remote sensing satellite, RISAT – I, in 2002.
- She is the second woman scientist of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to head a prestigious project after T K Anuradha, project director of the GSAT-12 mission in 2011.
- Valarmathi grew in the ranks from deputy project director and associate project director, before she was promoted to the post of Project Director for RISAT-I.
- Valarmathi was born to a retired block development officer, Natarajan, and his wife, Ramaseetha. She had her schooling at Nirmala Girls Higher secondary school in Tamil medium.
- Later, she completed her Pre-University Course at the Government Arts College, Ariyalur and then moved to Government College of Technology, Coimbatore.
- She received her ME from Anna University.
APJ Abdul Kalam Award:
- The A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Award, named after the 11th President of India and aerospace scientist A. P. J. Abdul Kalam.
- It is awarded by the Government of Tamil Nadu in recognition of contributions on scientific development, humanities and student’s welfare.
- The award prize will be five hundred thousand Indian rupees (about US$7,700), a certificate and a gold medal weighing eight grams.