Currently, as Chief of the country's Space Programme, he has been spearheading the ISRO Saga forward with focus on :
- Space applications for societal services and national imperatives,
- Creation and sustenance of concomitant space assets for communication, remote sensing and navigation,
- Realisation of indigenous capability and capacity for space transportation systems,
- Development of low cost access to space,
- Undertaking space science missions and interplanetary explorations including Chandrayaaan-2 and
- Indian Human Spaceflight initiatives.
The development of GSLV Mk III, ISRO’s next generation launch vehicle has gained significant momentum under his mandate with the successful static testing of S200 motor, the third largest solid booster in the world, and L110, the liquid core motor. The successful launch of Cartosat-2B and four co-passenger satellites by PSLV-C15 within just three months of the unsuccessful flight testing of the indigenous Cryogenic Stage in GSLV-D3 has been a testimony to the resilience and depth of his leadership. Development of Indian Aerospace Industry as Risk-sharing partners, enthusing the Academia for frontline research activities in space science and technology and setting up of the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology for human capital development have received impetus under his leadership.
As the Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), he played a crucial role in the first Indian Lunar Mission the Chandrayaan-1, responsible for realization of
- PSLV C-11 launch vehicle with a new set of strap on motors and a new mission design and
- Moon Impact Probe (MIP) that impacted on the surface of Moon in mid-November 2008.
Under his stewardship, Four more successful launches of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV were realised and 20 satellites (including Cartosat-2A, Indian Mini Satellite-1, RISAT-2, Oceansat-2, and two major foreign commercial satellites and 14 foreign Nano-satellites) precisely into the desired orbits. He commendably steered the formulation of the Indian Human Space Flight Programme through a nationally orchestrated effort and the Project Report has been approved by the Space Commission and endorsed by a high level National Committee.
He propelled the National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA) to figure among the premier organisations in the world for satellite remote sensing ground segment, applications and capacity building. He led NRSA to be the nerve centre of the ISRO’s Disaster Management Support Programme by successfully institutionalizing the 24/7 Disaster Support Centre (DSC) at NRSA which provides space based inputs to various state and central government during pre-disaster, disaster and post-disaster phases, in close coordination with the Ministry of Home Affairs. He mounted several initiatives at NRSA with a long term vision for setting up a state-of-the-art multi-mission ground segment for the future Earth Observation Satellites as well as a dedicated Aircraft-based disaster Surveillance System. It was with his sheer capacity of Institution building he executed the organisational re-structuring of NRSA into a government entity under ISRO/DOS in 2008.
As the Mission Director of Integrated Mission for Sustainable Development (IMSD) in the late 90’s, he steered the efforts of 35 Project Directors and 300 Scientists drawn from all State Governments and ISRO/NRSA to generate comprehensive spatial database of natural resources and action plans for sustainable development of land and water resources for nearly 85 million hectares of the country. IMSD, a unique and perhaps the largest remote sensing application project ever conducted in the world became a role model for integrated spatial planning and monitoring of land and water resources at micro level.
As Director of National Natural Resources Management System-Regional Remote Sensing Service Centre (NNRMS-RRSSC) in the 80’s, he played a crucial role in establishing the NNRMS in the country, dovetailing the national imperative needs with the Indian Remote Sensing Satellite (IRS) programme and facilitating capacity building in the Central and State Governments and Industry. These RRSSCs have matured as the regional hubs for remote sensing applications.
As the founder Director of Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), he is credited with setting up a world class and model scientific institution in the Ministry of Earth Sciences right from concept to fruition in a record time of two years. His relentless efforts in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean Tsunami disaster of December 2004 resulted in the formulation of a national project and system design for the Indian National Tsunami Warning Centre at INCOIS, which was later successfully established.
As Director of Budget and Economic Analysis at ISRO HQ during 1987-97, he shouldered the responsibility for overseeing, for the entire ISRO/DOS, formulation of annual budgets as well as identification of crucial budget elements linked to the programme elements of the 1990-2000 decade profile as well as VIII and IX Five Year Plans.
As Avionics Systems Engineer, he contributed to the development of Inertial Sensors and realisation of Avionics Systems for SLV-3, ASLV and PSLV.
He held several UN portfolios during this period. As Vice Chairman of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), the apex UN Body in Oceanography, during 2001-05, he played a pivotal role in restructuring the Global Ocean Observing System, the largest and most complex of the scientific and technical programmes led by the IOC. As founder- Chairman, he established the Regional Alliance in Indian Ocean for the Global Ocean Observing System (IOGOOS) in November 2002 and led it during 2002-06 to become the stand-out GOOS Regional Alliance of the world. He was the Regional Coordinator (Indian Ocean) for the International Argo profiling Float Project and realized an observational array of 400 floats by 8 countries during 2001-05. Since 2006, he has been closely associated with the UN Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN-COPUOS) as member of Indian delegation, Leader of Indian delegation (2008-09) and Chairman of the Working Group of the Whole of its S&T Subcommittee. (2008-09). He played a lead role, as Chairman of the Steering Committee for Local Organisation for the 58th International Astronautical Congress in 2007.
Dr. Radhakrishnan has contributed to academia in several ways. He had been author/co-author for more than 55 publications, including 12 in standard referred journals including Space Forum, Current Science, Journal of Aerospace Sciences and Technologies, Acta Astronautica, Journal of Geological Society of India, Journal of Rural technology etc. He has also delivered several prestigious addresses/award lectures including the 35th Convocation Address at Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (2010); "Statistics Day of India" Technical Seminar at Indian Statistical Institute Calcutta (2010); 1st Invited Lecture at IISc Alumni Association(2010), 9th Convocation Address at International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad (2010), Subroto Mukherjee Memorial Oration of Indian Aerospace Society (2008); and ARDB Prof. Satish Dhawan Memorial Lecture of Aeronautical Society of India (2007).