Bengaluru: Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) chief K Sivan told Bengaluru students that he was always denied his first choice throughout his academic and professional life, during ISRO's unique launch 'Samwad with Students' (SWS) on Tuesday (January 1).

"As far as college and career go, I was always denied my first choice. After high school, I wanted to study engineering but ended up studying BSc Mathematics. Later, I got into Engineering and wanted to join the ISRO Satellite Centre ISAC (now URSC) Bengaluru, but instead joined the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) at Thiruvananthapuram. At VSSC, I wanted to join the Aerodynamics group, but was part of the PSLV project instead," Sivan replied to a question by an eighth standard student, who wanted to know what his first choice was as a youngster.

ISRO said in a statement that the idea behind the SWS programme was to engage youngsters across India to capture scientific temperament and inspire students, cutting across schools and colleges.

Around 40 students and 10 teachers from selected schools across Bengaluru interacted with the ISRO chief at Antariksh Bhavan.

The students were first briefed about the Indian space programme and their benefits to the common man during their three-hour stay in the ISRO headquarters, the space agency said.

To a query from a 10th standard student on how scientists coped with failures, Sivan said the most significant lessons in life are often derived when the plans go astray.

"Space missions are very complex and different from terrestrial systems. They have to work in extreme environments more often. Our forefathers have shown us the path to take failures in our stride and take on the challenges with a positive mindset," the ISRO chief said.

Students posed various questions to Sivan, ranging from rockets, satellites, and the Chandrayaan moon mission, Gaganyaan and space applications. Sivan told students that they were going to be his most significant source of inspiration and motivation.

"With so many challenges on hand this year, I thought it is important to seek the well-wishes of students who are the future of this country," Sivan added.