Tessy Thomas


She was named after Mother Teresa, the late Nobel laureate who worked with the poor in Calcutta. She is the Project Director for Agni-IV missile in Defense Research and Development Organization. She is the first woman scientist to head a missile project in India. She is known as the 'Missile Woman' of India.


'Weapons of peace'

So how does she feel about working on some of the most powerful weapons of mass destruction?

Mrs. Thomas says she is developing "what are really weapons of peace." “No one really would give us this technology; we just have to develop it". 


Tessy was associate project director of the 3,000 km range Agni-III missile project. She was the project director for mission Agni IV which was successfully tested in 2011.Tessy was appointed as the Project Director for 5,000 km range Agni-V in 2009 and is based at the Advanced Systems Laboratory in Hyderabad. The missile was successfully tested on 19 April 2012.


In January 2012, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told the Indian Science Congress that Mrs. Thomas is an example of a "woman making her mark in a traditionally male bastion and decisively breaking the glass ceiling". The media loves to call her Agniputri, or one born of fire, after the missiles she has helped develop. "We are all proud of our country. Agni-V is one of our greatest achievements," she says.