On May 30, Elon Musk's SpaceX scripted history as it successfully launched two NASA astronauts aboard Crew Dragon fixed atop Falcon 9 rocket - first commercial company to do so.
The Crew Dragon has embarked on a near-24 hour journey that will take NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Center.
As millions tuned into the live-stream of the historic launch, Indians looking at it also had a question on their mind - 'Is there a desi name behind this?'
The question isn't surprising, a lot of tech giants are now led by Indians, people started looking for the 'Indian name' behind the launch - and turns out, there really is one.
And hey, the Indian link, #BalachandarRamamurthy - the Principal Flight Reliability Engineer for the launch today.
Quite a feat. Proud moment!https://t.co/myDkF8ZFiH— Anshuman Mainkar (@anshumig) May 27, 2020
The chief engineer for SpaceX falcon 9 is an Indian. Balachandar Ramamurthy. In fact, the dragon crew thanked him multiple times on the radio. "thanks Bala".— Harsha Vamsi (@_harshavamsi) May 31, 2020
Did you hear in the comm Bala. Athu this guy https://t.co/KpLvKpTzZd— Estepan (@Tinkerandthink) May 27, 2020
Bala Ramamurthy, the 'Indian link' behind the launch, was the Chief Engineer in Firing Room 4 in Kennedy’s Launch Control Center; and the SpaceX Crew Operations and Resources Engineer (CORE.)
Originally from Chennai, Ramamurthy did his Bachelor's in engineering from Anna University, and has been working at SpaceX for the last 9 years.
Ramamurthy's LinkedIn mentions that he is a member of the Build and Flight Reliability team at SpaceX, and has worked on the development and certification of the human-rated vehicle and served as the launch chief engineer for several key missions including Crew Demo-1 and the In-flight Abort Test.
He has also been involved in a number of interesting aerospace engineering projects and in launch vehicle risk analysis, physics of failure modeling, design optimization, and geometry design.
Interesting projects he has worked on in the past include designing a privately funded lunar lander and building an antimatter lab.