Age: 59 Years Hometown: Alappuzha, Kerala Husband: Saroj Kumar Patel
|Names Earned||India’s Missile Woman, Agni Putri (the daughter of fire) India Today|
|Profession||Scientist, Director General (Aeronautical Systems) at DRDO|
|Physical Stats & More|
|Date of Birth||April 1963|
|Age (as of 2022)||59 Years|
|Birthplace||Thathampally, Alappuzha, Kerala, India|
|Hometown||Alappuzha, Kerala, India|
|School||• St Michael’s Higher Secondary School, Alappuzha, Kerala
• St. Joseph’s Girls Higher Secondary School, Alappuzha, Kerala
|College/University||• University of Calicut, Kerala
• Institute of Armament Technology (now Defence Institute of Advanced Technology), Pune, Maharashtra
• Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU), Hyderabad, Telangana
• Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), New Delhi
|Educational Qualification||• B.Tech in Electrical Engineering from the University of Calicut, Kerala
• M.Tech in Guided Missiles from the Institute of Armament Technology (now Defence Institute of Advanced Technology), Pune, Maharashtra
• PhD in Missile Guidance from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU), Hyderabad, Telangana
• MBA in Operations Management from Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), New Delhi DRDO
Note: She is a Roman Catholic BBC
|Ethnicity||She belongs to a Syrian-Christian Malayali family hailing from Alappuzha, Kerala. The Telegraph|
|Food Habit||Non-vegetarian The Telegraph|
|Relationships & More|
|Husband/Spouse||Saroj Kumar Patel (a navy officer)|
|Parents||Her father suffered a paralytic stroke when Tessy was in Class 8 after which he was left bedridden. His occupation is conflicting. Some media houses have stated that he was an IFS officer India Today, while others have stated that he was a small businessman BBC. Although her mother was a learned teacher, she was not working when Tessy’s father suffered the paralytic stroke. Later, she single-handedly raised Tessy and her five siblings.|
|Siblings||Tessy has five siblings, four sisters and a brother.|
Some Lesser Known Facts About Tessy Thomas
- Tessy Thomas is an Indian scientist who became the Director General of Aeronautical Systems in the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in 2018. She was the Project Director for the DRDO’s Agni-IV missile. She is the first-ever woman scientist to head a missile project in India. The New Indian Express
- Her parents named her after Mother Teresa, Tessy being a derivative of Teresa or Tressia. DD News – YouTube India Today
- Her fascination with rockets and missiles began during childhood, growing up near the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station. Mathematics and Science were her favourite subjects at school. All of these factors led her to pursue a non-medical science stream.
- She had a difficult childhood with her father, the sole earning member of the family, being bedridden, and her mother who unaided had to raise six children.
- After her B.tech, she wrote the Civil Services Exam to become an IAS officer, but she cleared the DRDO interview the same day and instead pursued a DRDO-sponsored M.Tech in Guided Missiles.
- Tessy Thomas first met Saroj Kumar Patel while studying at the Institute of Armament Technology (now called the Defence Institute of Advanced Technology) in Pune.
- In 1986, she started working as a faculty member at the Institute of Armament Technology (IAT), Pune (now Defence Institute of Advanced Technology) in Guided Missiles.
- She joined the Defence Research & Development Laboratory (DRDL), Hyderabad, in 1988, where she was a junior under Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, who took over as DRDL’s director for a couple of years before moving on.
- At DRDO, she was associated with the ambitious project of developing the Agni Programme from the beginning. She is the designer of the guidance scheme for long-range missile systems which is used in all Agni missiles. Thomas was the associate project director of the 3,000 km range Agni-III and project director for mission Agni IV missile projects. Later, Thomas served as the project director of Agni-V, which was successfully tested on 19 April 2012.
A group photo of the team of AGNI-IV missile including DRDO Chief Shri Avinash Chander and the Project Director, AGNI-IV, Tessy Thomas at the launch of AGNI-IV, the Ballistic Missile from the Wheeler Island off the coast of Odisha on 20 January 2014
- From 2014 to 2018, while serving as the Director of Advanced Systems Laboratory at DRDO, she held multi-dimensional roles and responsibilities, leading the development of a strategic missile system.
- In an interview, she said that ironing clothes was a great stress-buster for her.
- In an interview, she revealed that she is fond of typical Indian “Saas and Bahu” TV soaps. Although the hobby seems unusual for a woman who loves science, she said that loves watching TV serials in her leisure time. While talking about the same in an interview, she said,
That is how I unwind. I like the way the actors are all so well-dressed and neatly turned out…my husband says the same thing, how do you watch these serials? But I like them.”
- She loves playing badminton and was a champion in the sport at school and college.
|↑1, ↑6, ↑10||India Today|
|↑4, ↑5||The Telegraph|
|↑8||The New Indian Express|
|↑9||DD News – YouTube|