Naga scientist Dr Belenso T Yimchunger, along with Ram Das, JE Power, GoI, and Kumar, an Electrical and Electronic student at IIT Delhi, received acknowledgment letters from ISRO Chairman Dr S Somanath on 24 March 2024 for their contributions to the development of Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) technology.

Dr Belenso T Yimchunger Naga ISRO
Dr Belenso T Yimchunger

Reacting to the letter, Dr Belenso shared that it was an “incredibly humbling and gratifying experience.”

“It was validation of the hard work, dedication, and contributions made by the entire team towards the success of our projects. Knowing that our efforts were recognized and appreciated at the highest levels of the organization was truly fulfilling,” he shared with Mokokchung Times.

Dr Belenso and his team undertook the task of developing the Reusable Launch Vehicle – Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) for Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The RLV-TD is among ISRO’s most technologically challenging projects with the purpose of developing technologies crucial for a fully reusable launch vehicle, ultimately reducing the cost of space missions.

The RLV-TD’s configuration resembles that of an aircraft but combines the complexities of both a launch vehicle and a plane. It serves as a flying test bed to evaluate various technologies, including hypersonic flight, autonomous landing, and powered cruise flight.

ISRO envisions scaling up the RLV-TD to become the first stage of India’s reusable two-stage orbital launch vehicle.

The RLV-TD comprises a fuselage, nose cap, double delta wings, twin vertical tails, and active control surfaces known as Elevons and Rudder. It was propelled to Mach 5 by a conventional solid booster (HS9) with a low burn rate. Developing the RLV-TD involved using special alloys, composites, and insulation materials, as well as highly skilled manpower.

“Many high technology machinery and test equipment were utilized for building this vehicle. My role in the successful launch involved contributing to the design and development of certain components crucial to the vehicle’s functionality. Being part of such a pioneering project was a great honor and a testament to India’s capabilities in space technology,” said Dr Belenso.

From Pungro to ISRO
Dr Belenso first came to the limelight in 2022 when his homemade experiments emerged on various social media platforms. The video depicted a voice-activated apparatus called ‘Tiger’ responding to Belenso’s voice commands to switch the lights on and off. At the time, Belenso was 20 years old, an Arts student with no training in computer programming or electronic engineering when he developed ‘Tiger’.

Growing up in Pungro town in the Kiphire district of Nagaland, he was always interested in electronics and electronic items. His first experiment was a robotic hand which he showcased during a district science exhibition in 2018.

He completed his schooling (Nursery to Class 10) in private schools in Pungro town. After his matriculation, he wanted to pursue studies in the Science stream; however, familial responsibilities prevented him from going outside the district to study Science. There were no educational institutions offering Science and Commerce streams in the entire Kiphire district. Under the circumstances, he opted to join the Government Higher Secondary School in Pungro town as an Arts student.

After completing his higher secondary education, Belenso enrolled for training at the Nagaland Tool Room & Training Centre (NTTC) in Dimapur as an Assistant Electrician. Following this, Belenso also took his diploma course at the National Institute of Technology in Chumoukedima, Nagaland. In 2023, he was appointed as a Soil Scientist under India Science, Technology and Innovation.

“The journey from Pungro to contributing to projects like creating automatic lights and eventually working with ISRO has been incredibly rewarding. It all started with a passion for innovation and a desire to make a difference. Each step along the way presented its own challenges and opportunities for growth, but the journey has been filled with learning experiences and achievements that I am proud of,” he said.

To fellow Nagas aspiring to pursue a career with ISRO or in space science, Dr Belenso urged them to “Stay curious, stay passionate, and never stop learning.”

“Develop a strong foundation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects, and seek out opportunities to gain practical experience and expertise in relevant fields. Be resilient in the face of challenges and setbacks, and never be afraid to dream big. With determination and perseverance, anything is possible,” he added.

Mokokchung Times

14 thoughts on “ISRO acknowledges Naga scientist for contribution to RLV technology | “Truly fulfilling”, reacts Dr Belenso T Yimchunger”
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