Meet India’s Missile Woman, Tessy Thomas. She is the first woman scientist to lead a missile project in the country.
Tessy was Associate Project Director of the 3,000 km range Agni-III missile project. She was the Project Director for mission Agni IV, which was successfully tested in 2011. Tessy was appointed the Project Director for 5,000 km range Agni V, the long-range, nuclear-capable missile that was tested successfully in 2012.
In January 2012, the then Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh told the Indian Science Congress that Tessy is an example of a “woman making her mark in a traditionally male bastion and decisively breaking the glass ceiling.” The media loves to call her Agni Putri, or one born from fire, after the missiles she has helped develop.
Agni V has succeeded, but she barely has a moment to exult, as she works 12-hours a day, even on Sunday for two more tests that have to be conducted before the 5,000-km intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) can be given to the defence forces.
Tessy Thomas’s Achievements
1. 2014: Received the Y. Nayudamma Memorial Award
2. 2012: She was awarded Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award by President Pranab Mukherjee