Internationally-renowned space scientist and former chairman of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization), Udupi Ramachandra Rao passed away in Bengaluru. He was 85.
Prof Rao is credited with having played an instrumental role in building up Indian satellite programmes right from nation’s first satellite Aryabhatta.
About U R Rao
He was born on 10 March 1932 in Adamaru, Karnataka. He is alumni of Madras University, Gujarat University, Banaras Hindu University.
He had served as Chairman of ISRO from 1984 to 1994. Under his guidance, ISRO had designed more than 20 satellites including India’s first satellite Aryabhatta. Under his leadership, India had initiated the development of the geostationary launch vehicle GSLV and the development of cryogenic technology in 1991.
He was also responsible for successful launch of INSAT satellites during his stint at ISRO. He had played pivotal role in promoting the use of space technology for broadcasting, education, meteorology, disaster warning and remote sensing. He also had served as the first Chairman of Antrix Corporation, the commercial arm of the ISRO.
He has published more than 350 scientific and technical papers in various journals covering topics like cosmic rays, high energy astronomy, interplanetary physics, space applications and satellite and rocket technology and also authored many books.
He was serving many reputed scientific research institutions and Universities as a member of their academic councils and panels. He was chancellor of Indian Institute for Space Science and Technology (IIST) at Thiruvananthapuram, Chairman of the Governing Council of the Physical Research Laboratory at Ahmedabad and Nehru Planetarium at Bengaluru.
For his contribution to Indian space technology, he was awarded Padma Bhushan (1976) and Padma Vibhushan (2017). He is the first Indian space scientist to be inducted into the prestigious ‘Satellite Hall of Fame’ in Washington DC in 2013 and also first in ‘ International Astronautics Federation (IAF) Hall of Fame’ in Mexico’s Guadalajara in May 2016.