Amateur techie helps NASA find crashed Indian spacecraft

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CH E N N A I : S h a n m u g a Subramanian, a 33-year-old engineer from Chennai, turned
into an international celebrity overnight after the NASA on Tuesday acknowledged that he had given them the first clue leading to the discovery of the debris of Vikram lander on the moon.

“Two computers and 30 hours of effort was all that I needed to get this clue on the debris. This is no rocket science,” said Subramanian, even as one journalist after another from television and other media organisations landed at his doorstep in south Chennai. Hailing from the temple town of Madurai, Subramanian had graduated in Mechanical Engineering from the Government College of Engineering in Tirunelveli, a tier-II town in south Tamil Nadu, some years ago. He had an insatiable thirst for space technology and would never miss a satellite launch.

“I followed the Chandrayaan 2 launch keenly and was devastated when communication with the lander was lost minutes before the scheduled landing,” he recalled. Subramanian then did the next thing that eventually led him to the big ‘clue’. He kept reading updates on the mission till the time NASA in a blog on September 29 released the images captured by its Lunar Renaissance Orbiter that had flown over the Vikram Lander’s landing area.

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