UR Rao Becomes One Of Stars In Space

The Distinguished Scientist, who guided the launch of India’s first satellite, Aryabhatta, is no more.

Bengaluru: UR Rao? “Yes I am Udupi Ramachandra Rao”, was one of pithy comments once made by this distinguished scientist, who took off from the Earth during early hours of Monday to occupy his space among the heavenly stars.

Padma Vibhushan of this year, he entered the Satellite Hall of Fame in March 2013 at a function organised by the Society of Satellite Professionals International. Eighty-five-year-old when he breathed his last, he is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter. Condolences have been pouring in from world over, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi keying in the following tweet:

“Saddened by the demise of renowned scientist, Professor UR Rao. His remarkable contribution to India’s space programme will never be forgotten.” Incidentally, Professor Rao completed his Ph D from Gujarat University in 1960.

He was a sought-after faculty of renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of Texas in Dallas, before going on to become the Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation. He also headed the Physical Research Laboratory at Ahmedabad and Nehru Planetarium in Bangalore. Last year, he was inducted into International Astronautics Federation.

The Professor will ever be remembered for guiding the launch of India’s first satellite Aryabhatta in 1975 and thereafter Bhaskara, APPLE, Rohini, Insat 1 and 2 and Mars Orbiter Mission, apart from IRS IA and IB. He also authored many books, including Physics of the Communication, Space and Agenda 21 – Caring for the Planet Earth, and Space Technology for Sustainable Development.

The awards he got are numerous, including the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award for Science and Technology and the Yuri Gagarin Medal. He was conferred the Padma Vibhushan on January 25, 2017.

He was suffering from old age-related ailments, including heart disease, when the end came.

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