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Former Isro Chairman Udupi Ramachandra Rao dies at 85 in Bengaluru

U R Rao, who was suffering from age related ailments, breathed his last around 3 am on Monday

Press Trust of India  |  Bengaluru 

Former Isro Chairman Udipi Ramachandra Rao
Former Isro Chairman Udipi Ramachandra Rao. Photo:

Eminent space scientist and former Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) Chairman passed away at his residence in Bengaluru in the wee hours on Monday due to age related ailments. He was 85.

"Rao breathed his last during the early hours, around 3 am today," Public Relations Director Deviprasad Karnik told PTI.

He was suffering from age related ailments and breathed his last at his residence in the city. Rao is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter, officials said.

Born in Adamaru area of Karnataka's Udupi district, Rao was involved in all missions till date in one capacity or the other. He is credited for contributions to the development of space technology in India and its extensive application to communications and remote sensing of natural resources.

He 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.

Rao served as the chairman of for 10 years from 1984-1994.

After taking charge as chairman of the space commission and secretary, department of space in 1984, he accelerated the development of rocket technology which led to the successful launch of Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle (ASLV) rocket and the operational Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle that can launch 2.0 ton class of satellites into polar orbit, his profile on the space agency's website reads.

He also initiated the development of the Geo Stationary Launch Vehicle (GSLV) and the development of cryogenic technology in 1991.
Rao was awarded the in 1976 and the in 2017 for his contribution to Indian space technology.

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 D C on March 19, 2013, and the 'IAF Hall of Fame' in Mexico's Guadalajara.

First Published: Mon, July 24 2017. 08:45 IST