Udupi Ramachandra Rao, the former chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), died on Monday following prolonged illness. Popularly known as UR Rao, breathed his last at his residence in Bengaluru at the age of 85.
The internationally renowned space scientist had a heart ailment and was recovering at home after he was recently discharged from a private hospital. The nation and the space community from across the globe are mourning his death.
Here is all you need to know about Rao, who was the man behind India's first satellite Aryabhata.
1. In 1985, Rao took charge as Space Commission and Secretary, Department of Space. He was the man who accelerated the development of rocket technology which resulted in the successful launch of ASLV rocket in 1992.
2. In 1975, Rao played a crucial role in the launch of Aryabhatta, India’s first satellite.
3. Under Rao’s guidance, apart from Aryabhata, India carried out at least 20 satellites projects including Bhaskara, APPLE, Rohini, INSAT-1 and INSAT-2 series of multipurpose satellites and the IRS-1A and IRS-1B remote sensing satellites. These projects were aimed at providing communication, remote sensing and meteorological services.
4. Rao was also responsible for the development of the operational PSLV launch vehicle, which was in 1995 used in launching an 850 kg satellite into a polar orbit.
5. On March 19, 2013, Rao became the first Indian to be inducted into the Satellite Hall of Fame at a ceremony organised by the Society of Satellite Professionals International.
6. On May 15, 2016, Rao was inducted into International Astronautics Federation (IAF) to become the first Indian again to achieve such a feat
7. More than 350 scientific and technical papers covering cosmic rays, interplanetary physics, high energy astronomy, space applications and satellite and rocket technology have been published by Rao, who also authored many books.
8. Born at Adamaru in Karnataka on 10 March 1932, Rao received D.Sc (Hon. Causa) Degree from over 25 universities, including the University of Bologna, the oldest University in Europe.
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9. Rao was serving as the chairman of the governing council of the Physical Research Laboratory in Ahmedabad and the chancellor of the Indian institute of science and technology in Thiruvananthapuram. Rao served as the chairman of ISRO for 10 years from 1984-1994.
10. Rao was honoured with the Padma Bhushan in 1976 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2017 for his contribution to Indian space technology.