Google paid tribute to famous Indian space scientist, Professor Udupi Ramachandra Rao, on his 89th birth anniversary with a doodle. Many remember Prof Rao as “India’s Satellite Man”. He was the chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and oversaw the launch of Aryabhata, India’s first satellite, in 1975 (Aryabhata was named after the renowned Indian astronomer and mathematician). On April 19, 1975, it was launched from Kapustin Yar, a Russian rocket and development site by means of a Kosmos-3M launch vehicle.
What does the doodle feature?
The doodle features an animated GIF of Prof Rao ‘holding’ the Aryabhata satellite in his right hand while the background shows a portion of the earth and some shooting stars. The description by Google reads: “Your stellar technological advancements continue to be felt across the galaxy”.
Who is Udupi Ramachandra Rao?
Prof Rao was born in a remote village of Karnataka on March 10, 1932. He started his career as a cosmic-ray physicist and an apprentice of Dr Vikram Sarabhai. Prof Rao took his talent to the US after finishing doctorate. In the US, he worked as a professor and led experiments on NASA’s Pioneer and Explorer space probes.
Prof Rao returned to India in 1966 and started an extensive high-energy astronomy program at the Physical Research Laboratory. After this, he led India’s satellite program in 1972. As chairman of ISRO, Prof Rao kept propelling India’s space program to stratospheric heights from 1984 to 1994.
In 2013, he became the first Indian to be inducted into the Satellite Hall of Fame. Prof Rao is also credited for developing rocket technology such as the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), the third generation launch vehicle of India and the first to be equipped with liquid stages. It has launched more than 250 satellites, including Mangalyaan, India’s first interplanetary mission in 2013 that orbits Mars today.
Prof Rao died on July 24, 2017, at the age of 85. The same year, he had been conferred the Padma Vibhushan. He had earlier received the Padma Bhushan in 1976. He is the only Indian to have been inducted into the Satellite Hall of Fame, Washington, in 2013.
First Published: IST