Dr K. Kasturirangan is currently Chairman, Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Chancellor, Central University of Rajasthan, Chairman, Public Affairs Centre, Bangalore, Chairman, Karnataka Knowledge Commission, Member, Atomic Energy Commission, an Emeritus Professor at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bangalore, and Honorary Distinguished Advisor, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Earlier, as Chairman of ISRO, he oversaw the space programme of India between the years 1994 and 2003. He was a Member, Upper House of the Indian Parliament (2003-2009) and concurrently the Director of NIAS, Bangalore and subsequently, Member of the erstwhile Planning Commission. Dr Kasturirangan was also the Chairman of the Committee entrusted with drafting the new National Education Policy (July 2017-December 2018). His interests include astrophysics, space science and technology as well as science related policies.
Dr. Kasturirangan is a Member of several International and National Science Academies. He is a Fellow of Indian Academy of Sciences and served as its President during 2001-03. He is Fellow of Indian National Academy of Engineering and was its President during 2005-06. He was also General President of the Indian Science Congress for the years 2002-2003. Besides, he is the Fellow of the Indian National Science Academy and the National Academy of Sciences of India. Dr. Kasturirangan is the only Indian to be conferred the Honorary Membership of the International Academy of Astronautics and having served as its Vice President earlier. He is a Member of the International Astronomical Union and a Fellow of The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS). He is the Honorary Fellow of the Cardiff University, UK and Academician of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Vatican City.
He has won several awards including Brock Medal of International Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, (2004), Allan D Emil Memorial Award of the International Astronautical Federation (2004), Theodore Von Karman Award by International Academy of Astronautics (2007), Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award in Engineering, Aryabhata Award 2003 of Astronautical Society of India, Lifetime Achievement Award of Asia-Pacific Satellite communications Council, Singapore, Aryabhata Medal by Indian National Science Academy (2000), Asutosh Mookerjee Memorial Award by the Indian Science Congress, Award of Jewel of Ruia, Ruia College Alumni Association, 2007; Maharana Udai Singh Award 2007-08 by Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation, Udaipur, 2008; Rajayogindra Award, Maharaja of Mysore (2008); Vikram Sarabhai Memorial Gold Medal, Indian Science Congress (2009) etc. He has been conferred with the highest civilian honours Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan by the President of India and Award of ‘Officer of the Legion d’honneur’ by the President of the French Republic, France.