Indian space pioneer Udupi Ramachandra Rao passes away

Scientist U.R. Rao. File Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

Scientist U.R. Rao. File Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy  

Rao was involved in all ISRO missions till date in one capacity or the other

Udupi Ramachandra Rao, the grand old man of Indian space programme, is no more.

Professor Rao, 85, passed away in his Indira Nagar home in Bengaluru a little before 3 a.m. on Monday, a source in the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)confirmed. Active almost until his last days, Professor Rao had been to his office in the Department of Space's Antariksh Bhavan about three weeks back, the source said.

The celebrated space scientist was the fourth Chairman of the ISRO in its critical formative years between 1984 and 1994.

ISRO credits him with establishing the development of indigenous satellite technology, giving thrust to early rocket development efforts with the ASLV and the PSLV.

He initiated the development of the medium powered  GSLV rocket for two-tonne spacecraft in 1991.


It was during his time that India was denied the Russian cryogenic technology for the GSLV's  upper third stage.

U.R.Rao, as he is better known, was decorated with Padma Vibhushan this year and the Padma Bhushan n 1976. He is the only Indian to date to have been inducted into the Satellite Hall of Fame, Washington, in 2013 by the Society of Satellite Professionals International.

Dr. Rao was born in Adamaru near Udupi on March 10, 1932. He is survived by his wife, a scientist, a son and a daughter.

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The article has been updated with details of U.R. Rao's family.

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 7:09:15 AM |

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