Internationally-renowned space scientist UR Rao passed away on July 24, 2017 due to age-related health issues. He was 85.
Overview of UR Rao’s accomplishments as a Space Scientist:
Born in Adampur village in Udupi, Karnataka, Prof. Rao has continuously been associated with India’s space programme working with people like MGK Menon, Satish Dhawan and Vikram Sarabhai.
- The first Indian satellite ‘Aryabhata’ was launched in 1975 under his watch.
- He served as the chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for about 10 years between 1984 to 1994.
- After he took charge as Chairman of the Space Commission and Secretary, Department of Space in 1984, the rocket technology development in India got a boost.
- He kicked-off the Geo Stationary Launch Vehicle (GSLV) and the cryogenic technology projects in 1991.
- Among other positions that Prof. Rao has held, he is remembered for his tenure at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
- He has published more than 350 scientific and technical papers covering cosmic rays, interplanetary physics, high energy astronomy, space applications and satellite and rocket technology. He has also authored many books.
- 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.
Professor UR Rao – Honors/Awards:
- UR Rao has won 10 international awards and many national awards.
- In May 2016, Rao became the first Indian to be given the ‘Hall of Fame’ award by the International Astronautical Federation (IAF).
- He is also the recipient of D.Sc (Hon. Causa) Degree from over 25 universities, including the University of Bologna, the oldest University in Europe.
- Rao was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1976 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2017 for his contribution to Indian space technology.