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Bidding Adieu to Late Space Scientist UR Rao – Former ISRO Chairman & the Man Behind Aryabhatta

Till his last days, he served as the Chairman of the governing council of the Physical Research Laboratory in Ahmedabad and the Chancellor of the Indian Institute of Science and Technology in Thiruvananthapuram.

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Celebrated space scientist, Udupi Ramachandra Rao, popularly known as U.R. Rao, bade goodbye to the world at the age of 85.

The eminent space scientist and former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman passed away in Bengaluru in the wee hours today due to age-related ailments, ISRO Public Relations Director, Deviprasad Karnik, told PTI.

udupi-ramachandra-rao-isro-aryabhatta
Source: Facebook

A resident of Bengaluru, he is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.

U.R. Rao’s journey has been nothing short of amazing, and as a tribute to his unforgettable contribution to Indian space, we list down all you need to know about the late space scientist:

  • He was born on March 10, 1932, in the village of Adamaru in Karnataka’s Udupi district and was involved in all ISRO missions till date, in some or the other capacity.
  • Under his guidance, beginning with the first Indian satellite Aryabhata in 1975, over 18 satellites including Bhaskara, APPLE, Rohini, INSAT-1 and INSAT-2 series of multipurpose satellites and the IRS-1A and IRS-1B remote sensing satellites were designed, fabricated and launched for providing communication, remote sensing and meteorological services.
  • Till his last days, he served as the Chairman of the governing council of the Physical Research Laboratory in Ahmedabad and the Chancellor of the Indian Institute of Science and Technology in Thiruvananthapuram.
  • Rao served as the fourth Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
    ISRO for a decade from 1984-1994 and served as the Secretary in the Department of Space in 1984.
  • He is credited with accelerating the development of rocket technology and the successful launch of the ASLV rocket. His operational PSLV launch vehicle can launch 2.0 ton class of satellites into the polar orbit.

Read more: ISRO-Developed Chip Based System in Rajdhani Trains to Alert People at Unmanned Level Crossings


  • He initiated the development of the Geo Stationary Launch Vehicle (GSLV) and furthered the development of cryogenic technology in 1991.
  • He was felicitated with the Padma Bhushan in 1976 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2017 for his contribution to Indian space technology.
  • He became the first Indian space scientist to be inducted into the prestigious ‘Satellite Hall of Fame’ in Washington DC on March 19, 2013 by the Society of Satellite Professionals International and also made it to the ‘IAF Hall of Fame’ in Mexico’s Guadalajara.
  • Udupi Ramachandra Rao published over 350 scientific and technical papers covering cosmic rays, interplanetary physics, high energy astronomy, space applications, satellite and rocket technology and authored many books.

Gone but not forgotten, the man will continue to be an inspiration to aspiring space scientists across India.

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