Eminent scientist Udupi Ramachandra Rao is no more. Indians will always remember him for his contribution towards Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Professor Rao who was 85 years passed away at around 2:30 AM on Monday. He was the fourth Chairman of the ISRO from 1984 to 1994. He was a part of the Aryabhatta and Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM). He was conferred with Padma Vibhushan in the year 2017 and Padma Bhushan in 1976.
Rejected the offer of Governor from Indira Gandhi
But now am information has emerged that Professor U R Rao had once declined the offer of becoming the Governor of the state. Yes, Indira Gandhi had offered him to be the governor of Maharashtra but he declined politely and said that he will continue to contribute towards the nation as a scientist. This was really a great statement and was expected from a personality like him. This was revealed by his relative Adamaru Shripathi Acharya.
He was born in Adamaru village of Udupi district and his life story is really inspiring. His father was a chef who was popular around the village. Prof Rao received a Bachelor of Science from Madras University in 1951, his master’s degree from Banaras Hindu University in 1953 and his PhD from Gujarat University in 1960.
After taking charge as Chairman, Space Commission and Secretary, Department of Space in 1985, Rao accelerated the development of rocket technology resulting in the successful launch of ASLV rocket in 1992. He was also responsible for the development of the operational PSLV launch vehicle, which successfully launched an 850 kg satellite into a polar orbit in 1995.
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.
Rao also became 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.
Rao is the recipient of D.Sc. (Hon. Causa) Degree from over 25 universities, including the University of Bologna, which is Europe’s oldest university.
Dr. Rao was born in Adamaru near Udupi on March 10, 1932. He is survived by his wife, a scientist, and a daughter.