From Rural Nagaland to ISRO’s Elite: The Extraordinary Journey of Dr. Belenso T. Yimchunger

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Rising from Remote Roots

In the secluded town of Pungro, nestled in Nagaland’s Kiphire district, a remarkable story of determination and innovation unfolds. Dr. Belenso T. Yimchunger, a 22-year-old son of a retired electrician, has made a significant impact on India’s space exploration endeavors. This narrative traces his extraordinary journey from humble beginnings to becoming a key figure in ISRO’s ambitious Pushpak project.

Building Dreams from Scratch

As a child, Dr. Yimchunger’s curiosity was sparked by a passion for building and creating. Growing up in a remote area, he demonstrated a keen interest in science and technology, despite limited resources. His journey took a pivotal turn when he joined the National Institute of Technology (NIT) in Nagaland, where his innovative spirit flourished.

Contributions to ISRO: Shaping the Future of Space Exploration

Dr. Yimchunger, now a soil scientist at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), played a crucial role in developing the Reusable Launch Vehicle – Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD). This project, aimed at creating cost-effective reusable launch vehicles, is one of ISRO’s most challenging and pioneering initiatives.

The RLV-TD, a technological marvel resembling an aircraft, integrates the functionalities of both a plane and a launch vehicle. It serves as a test bed for advanced technologies such as hypersonic flight, autonomous landing, and powered cruise flight. Dr. Yimchunger and his team’s dedication has been instrumental in pushing the boundaries of space technology.

Recognition and Milestones: Acknowledgment from ISRO

On June 23, 2024, Pushpak, the RLV-TD, successfully completed its third and final test in the series of Landing Experiments (LEX) at the Aeronautical Test Range in Chitradurga, Karnataka. ISRO Chairman S. Somanath lauded Dr. Yimchunger’s contributions, highlighting the significant impact of his innovative ideas and dedicated efforts on the advancement of this crucial technology.

Passion for Learning: Overcoming Obstacles

Despite facing numerous challenges, including his mother’s poor health, Dr. Yimchunger’s determination to pursue his passion for science remained unwavering. As the only son among three siblings, he had to stay back in Pungro and attended the Government Higher Secondary School in Pungro town as an arts student. The lack of science education in local schools did not deter him. He creatively found ways to learn, even donning different school uniforms to access various schools, a stunt that led to his expulsion but showcased his relentless quest for knowledge.

Beyond ISRO: Innovations in Everyday Life

Dr. Yimchunger’s inventive spirit extends beyond his contributions to ISRO. He gained attention in 2022 for a homemade voice-activated light control system, ‘Tiger,’ which responded to commands to turn lights on and off. Despite having no formal training in computer programming or electronic engineering, his ingenuity and resourcefulness shone through.

 Another notable invention was ‘Lifi,’ an audio transmission device using solar panels and LED lights. He utilized an Arduino microcontroller, voice programming, and simple components like light bulbs and old speakers to bring his ideas to life. His project ‘Tiger’ is a testament to his innovative prowess, inspired by the resilience and spirit of the Yimkhiung people, whom he refers to as having the ‘blood of tigers.’

Soil to Power: Addressing Rural Needs

Dr. Yimchunger’s groundbreaking work is not confined to theoretical research. He developed the ‘Pungro Power Soil,’ a device that converts soil into electricity, inspired by the challenges faced by rural communities in accessing reliable power sources. After months of research, he created a simple yet effective device that can provide power backup for 1.5 hours and can be recharged using salt water or sulfuric acid.

Future Innovations: Water Filtration and Safety Devices

Currently, Dr. Yimchunger is working on a rainwater filtration system and an electronic water level indicator. His motivation stems from concerns about the safety of manually checking high water tanks. These innovations aim to improve the quality of life in his community by providing safer and more efficient water management solutions.

Inspiration for Future Generations

Dr. Yimchunger’s journey from a remote corner of Nagaland to the forefront of India’s space research serves as a powerful inspiration. Nagaland’s Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) Minister, Jacob Zhimomi, praised him as an icon for young Nagas, highlighting his potential to achieve even greater things for India in the future.

A Beacon of Hope and Innovation

Dr. Belenso T. Yimchunger’s story is a testament to the power of perseverance and innovation. His remarkable achievements, from local ingenuity to contributing to national space missions, illuminate the potential of individuals from even the most remote areas to make a significant impact on the world.

(With inputs from agencies)

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