US honour for Indian space scientist U.R. Rao

Last Updated: Sat, Jan 19, 2013 14:00 hrs

Bangalore, Jan 19 (IANS) Distinguished space scientist and former ISRO chairman U.R. Rao will be inducted into the 'Satellite Hall of Fame' in Washington March 19 in recognition of his contribution to space technology.

"The Society of Satellite Professionals International (SSPI) will induct Rao as a member of the prestigious 'Satellite Hall of Fame' in Washington for his invaluable contribution in space technology," the state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in a statement here Saturday.

Since 1987, the SSPI Hall of Fame has been recognising the immense contribution of visionaries transforming life on planet earth for the better through satellite technology.

"Members of the Hall of Fame are recognised pioneers in communications, satellite-related aerospace scientific research or development and delivery of applications for business, institutions and government via satellite," the statement said.

The international recognition makes the former space department secretary join 40 other scientists, including Arthur C. Clarke, James Van Allen, William Pritchard, Harold Rosen, Fredric d'Allest, Takayashi Yoshida, Peter Jackson and Olfof Lundberg who were inducted into the Hall of Fame in the past.

The 80-year-old Rao, who hails from Bangalore, is currently chairman of the governing council of the space agency's Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) at Ahmedabad.

As ISRO chairman for a decade from 1984-94, Rao accelerated the development of rocket technology, resulting in the launch of augmented satellite launch vehicle (ASLV) and the operational polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV) that put two-tonne class of satellites into polar orbit.

The former space commission chairman also initiated the development of the geostationary launch vehicle (GSLV) and the development of cryogenic technology in the early 1990s.

After working as a faculty member at MIT and assistant professor at University of Texas in Dallas in the early 1960s, Rao returned to India in 1966 and joined PRL as professor.

Convinced of the imperative need to use space technology for rapid development, Rao established satellite technology in early 1970s.

Under Rao's supervision, beginning with the first Indian satellite 'Aryabhata' in 1975, around 18 satellites were designed and launched for providing communication, remote sensing and meteorological services.

Rao has published over 350 scientific and technical papers covering cosmic rays, interplanetary physics, high energy astronomy, space applications and satellite and rocket technology.

Rao is also a recipient of D.Sc. (honorary) degree from over 21 universities, including University of Bologna, the oldest university in Europe.

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