M. R. Kurup

M. R. Kurup
Born Chengannur, Kerala, India
Died India
Other names Madhavan Pillai Ramakrishna Kurup
Occupation Rocket scientist
Known for Solid rocket propulsion technology
Parent(s) C. N. Madhavan Pillai
Awards Padma Shri

Madhavan Pillai Ramakrishna Kurup was an Indian rocket scientist and the founder of the first solid rocket propellant plant in India at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre.[1] He is known to have contributed to the successful launching of the Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle (ASLV) as the director of the VSSC centre in Thiruvananthapuram.[2] The Government of India awarded him the fourth highest civilian award of Padma Shri in 1990.[3]


Born in Chengannur, in the south Indian state of Kerala to C. N. Madhavan Pillai, a lawyer,[4] Kurup started his career by joining the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). He worked in VSSC in various capacities such as General Manager, Deputy Director and Chief Executive of Chemicals, Materials and Propulsion unit[1] where he had the opportunity to work alongside A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, the space scientist who would later become the President of India.[5] During his tenure there, he established the first solid rocket propulsion plant in the country[1] for propellants, propulsion and pyrotechnics.[6] He was a member of the team selected by Vikram Sarabhai to design the first Indian satellite launch vehicle, which was composed of Kurup, Vasant Gowarikar, A. E. Muthunayagam and Udupi Ramachandra Rao among others.[6] He was the Design Project Leader of the second stage[7] and was closely associated with the project till the launch of the vehicle on 10 August 1979.[8] Later, he moved to Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh,[8] established a similar plant in the 1970s and superannuated from service as the director of the SHAR centre.[1]

The Government of India included him in the 1990 Republic Day honours list for the civilian award of the Padma Shri.[3] The Indian Society for Non-Destructive Testing has instituted an annual lecture, M. R. Kurup Memorial Lecture, in honour of Kurup.[1]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "MR Kurup Memorial Lecture". Indian Society for Non-Destructive Testing. 2015. Retrieved September 27, 2015.
  2. "ASLV: The final countdown". India Today. 15 June 1988. Retrieved September 27, 2015.
  3. 1 2 "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 15, 2014. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
  4. "Our Great Prominent Personalities". Chengannur.net. 2015. Retrieved September 27, 2015.
  5. "My childhood memories of Kalam Uncle". Rediff. 29 July 2015. Retrieved September 27, 2015.
  6. 1 2 "Movers". Tamil Kirukkan. 2015. Retrieved September 27, 2015.
  7. "BHU Report" (PDF). Banaras Hindu University. 2015. Retrieved September 27, 2015.
  8. 1 2 "ISRO's spectacular leap in 25 years". The Hindu. 15 August 2004. Retrieved September 27, 2015.
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