UR Rao, former ISRO chairman, passes away at 85

Mr. Rao is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter, ISRO officials said.

Bengaluru: Former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman and an internationally renowned space scientist Udupi Ramachandra Rao has passed away aged 85 in early hours of Monday at his residence in Bengaluru, reported news agency PTI.

"Rao breathed his last during the early hours, around 3 AM today," ISRO Public Relations Director Deviprasad Karnik told PTI. According to a report by an English Daily, the veteran scientist was admitted in hospital earlier this year with hear ailments.

Rao is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter, ISRO officials said.

Professor Rao, served as the ISO chairman for about 10 years between 1984-1994, after taking the reigns from Satish Sharma, and was currently serving 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.

During his tenure as the Chairman of ISRO, he accelerated the development of rocket technology which led to the successful launch of ASLV rocket and the operational PSLV launch vehicle, which can launch 2.0 ton class of satellites into polar orbit. He also initiated the development of the Geo Stationary Launch Vehicle (GSLV) and the development of cryogenic technology in 1991, according to his profile on ISRO’s website.

Mr. Rao was awarded with Padma Bhushan in 1976 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2017 for his contribution to Indian space technology. He was also the first Indian space scientist to be inducted into the prestigious 'Satellite Hall of Fame' in Washington DC on March 19, 2013, and the 'IAF Hall of Fame' in Mexico's Guadalajara.

He has 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.

(With inputs from PTI)

( Source : Deccan Chronicle with agency inputs )
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