First Indian in 'Satellite Hall of Fame'

doi:10.1038/nindia.2013.46 Published online 28 March 2013

U R Rao


Indian space scientist Udipi Ramachandra Rao joined the league of Arthur C. Clarke, Van Allen and Harold Rosen as he became the first Indian inducted into the 'Satellite Hall of Fame' of the Society of Satellite Professionals International. Rao was given the honour at a function in Washington D.C. on March 19, 2013.

A former chairperson of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Secretary of India's Department of Space, Rao was inducted into the coveted hall of fame at a function attended by over 1000 space scientists, industry leaders, administrators and professionals.

Eighty three-year-old Rao joins the select group of about 50 hall of fame members including Clarke, Allen, Rosen, Olof Lundberg, Eddy Hartenstein, Frederic d'Allest, Sidney Topol, Takayushi Yoshida, Mary Ann Alliott, Mary Frost, Peter Jackson and Robert Berry.

According to an ISRO release, his citation said: "Prof. U.R. Rao is an internationally renowned space scientist who has contributed to the development of space technology in India and its extensive application to communications and remote sensing of natural resources since starting his career in 1960. More than any other single individual, Prof. Rao is responsible for the creation of India's space and satellite capabilities and their application to the nation's development."

"As head of the Indian Space Research Organisation, Prof. Rao undertook the responsibility for the establishment of satellite technology in India in 1972. Under his guidance, beginning with the first Indian satellite 'Aryabhata' in 1975, over 20 satellites were designed, fabricated and launched. Rao also accelerated the development of rocket technology in India, resulting in the successful launch of ASLV rocket in 1992 and the operational PSLV launch vehicle. He has tirelessly promoted the use of space technology for broadcasting, education, meteorology, remote sensing and disaster warning."

Rao, who began his career as a cosmic ray scientist under Vikram Sarabhai, was the chairperson of ISRO between 1984 and 1994 and is currently in the Governing Council of the Physical Research Laboratory at Ahmedabad. He is the recipient of India's coveted civilian award Padma Bhushan.