Internationally-renowned space scientist UR Rao passed away early Monday 24 July, leaving the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) bereft of the experience of a man who has been a part of all its launches in one capacity or another. He was 85.

Rao, who breathed his last at about 2.30am, was hospitalised earlier this year with a heart ailment.

The former Isro chief was serving as the chairman of the governing council of the physical research laboratory and the chancellor of the Indian Institute of Science and Technology at Thiruvananthapuram.

Rao has held several top positions over the years, including at foreign universities. He has won 10 international awards and many national awards.

After Satish Dhawan, he served as the chairman of Isro for about 10 years between 1984-1994.

Born in Adampur village in Udupi, Rao has continuously been associated with India’s space programme working with people like MGK Menon (who recently passed away), Satish Dhawan and Vikram Sarabhai.

He is also the recipient of D.Sc (Hon. Causa) Degree from over 25 universities, including the University of Bologna, the oldest University in Europe.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday expressed grief over the death of former ISRO chief U.R. Rao. He said Rao’s contribution to India’s space research will always be remembered.

“Saddened by the demise of renowned scientist, Professor U.R. Rao. His remarkable contribution to India’s space programme will never be forgotten,” Modi said in a tweet.


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