Sheena Rani: DRDO scientist who spearheaded India's Agni- 5 missile programme

The senior scientist at DRDO is currently the missile project program director

sheena rano DRDO scientis Sheena Rani | Twitter

The nation witnessed a poised moment from Dr A.P.J Abdul Kalam Island off the Odisha coast last Monday, 11 March. Mission 'Divyastra' or the 'weapon of the Gods' has successfully demonstrated the first flight equipped with multiple warheads. Agni-V, the supersonic missile project of India widely range from 5000 Km and covers almost all of India's neighbouring countries. 

Scientist Sheena Rani, native to Kerala's Thiruvananthapuram, helmed the team of Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) scientists behind the modified edition of Agni-V. The senior scientist at DRDO is currently the missile project program director at Hyderabad-based Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL).  

She previously worked in the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram for eight years and joined DRDO in 1999 soon after India's second nuclear test Pokhran- II in 1998. An expert in electronics and communications engineering she has been working on India's missile missions, since 1999. " I am really proud of being part of the Agni missile programme as the missiles are safeguarding the nation's borders", she said in a media interview earlier.    

The 57-year-old scientist was born in Thiruvananthapuram and lost her father while she was in 10th standard. Thereupon her mother looked after the family. She did her engineering from the College of Engineering Trivandrum (CET). Her husband, PSRS Sastry, is also involved in the missile project at DRDO and supervises the Kautilya Satellite launched by ISRO in 2019. 

Though she has been working with several DRDO units and missions, her part involves checking the overall strength of missiles. In 2016, she won the "scientist of the year award."

Since 2016, India has been trying to test Agni-V. By 2024, Agni-V test-firing can range from about 5000 Km within India, the range of the whole of China and some parts of Europe. The countries that have been equipped with missiles with MIRV are the the US, Russia, the UK, China, and France. 

By praising the DRDO scientists, PM Modi wrote on X (formerly known as Twitter), "Proud of our DRDO scientists for Mission Divyastra, the first flight test of indigenously developed Agni-5 missile with Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicle (MIRV) technology."                      



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