Former ISRO Chairman and acclaimed scientist U R Rao was responsible for the launch of India’s first satellite, Aryabhatta in 1975. He headed the space agency from 1984 to 1994.
“Saddened by demise of renowned scientist, Professor UR Rao. His remarkable contribution to India's space programme will never be forgotten” tweeted PM Modi.
After Aryabhata, over 18 satellites were designed and launched for providing communication, remote sensing and meteorological services. As Chairman in 1984, Prof Rao gave rocket technology a boost, which led to the launch of the ASLV rocket and the operational PSLV launch vehicle. He was also responsible for the Geo Stationary Launch Vehicle (GSLV) and the cryogenic technology projects in 1991.
Prof Rao was the only Indian to be included in the Satellite Hall of Fame of the Society of Satellite Professionals International, Washington. Astrophysicist Van Allen and author Arthur Clarke are also in the hall of fame.
“He passed away at his Indiranagar home here around 3 am on Monday. He was suffering from age-related health issues,” said ISRO’s Director for Publications and Public Relations, Deviprasad Karnik.
He was born in Adamaru, near Udupi on March 10, 1932. Prof Rao is survived by his wife, Yashoda, son Madan Rao, who teaches at the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bengaluru, and architect-daughter Mala.