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The many contributions of U.R. Rao

Prof. U.R. Rao. File   | Photo Credit: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

Udupi Ramachandra Rao, a pioneer of the Indian space programme, passed away on Monday.

The celebrated scientist was the fourth Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) during its critical formative years between 1984 and 1994.

Here is why he was one of the most celebrated scientists in India:

1. After he took charge as Chairman of the Space Commission and Secretary, Department of Space in 1984, the rocket technology development got a boost, leading to the successful launch of ASLV rocket and the operational PSLV launch vehicle, his profile on the space agency’s website reads.

2. He kicked-off the Geo Stationary Launch Vehicle (GSLV) and the cryogenic technology projects in 1991. It was during his tenure that India was denied the Russian cryogenic technology for the GSLV's upper third stage.

3. The first Indian satellite 'Aryabhata' was launched in 1975 under his watch. After this over 18 satellites were designed and launched for providing communication, remote sensing and meteorological services, the ISRO states.

4. Aryabhata is the first Indian spacecraft that was also built in the country. Named after the fifth century astronomer, the experimental spacecraft did not last its design life of six months in space. But this spacecraft, made in the modest ‘sheds’ of Peenya in Bengaluru, put India’s capability to build satellites on track.

5. He has published over 350 scientific and technical papers covering cosmic rays, interplanetary physics, high-energy astronomy, space applications, satellite and rocket technology, and also authored many books.

6. He has been awarded honorary Doctor of Science degrees by over 25 foreign universities. He had been teaching at MIT and the University of Texas before he came back to India in 1966.

7. Before his death, he was serving as the chairman of the governing council of the Physical Research Laboratory in Ahmedabad and the Chancellor of the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology in Thiruvananthapuram.

8. Rao was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1976 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2017 for his contribution to Indian space technology.

9. U.R. Rao was also the first Indian to be inducted into the prestigious Satellite Hall of Fame, Washington.

(With inputs from Agencies and ISRO)


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Printable version | Nov 25, 2021 4:36:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/prof-ur-rao-death-the-many-contributions-of-ur-rao/article19341808.ece

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