Former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman and internationally renowned space scientist Professor U R Rao passed away in the wee hours of Monday at his residence in Bengaluru, news agency PTI reported. Rao, 85, was admitted in a hospital earlier this year with heart ailments. According to an ISRO official, Professor Rao died at around 3 am in the morning. “Rao breathed his last during the early hours, around 3 AM today,” ISRO Public Relations Director Deviprasad Karnik told PTI.
Professor Rao, who served as ISRO Chairman for 10 years during 1984-1994, was inducted into International Aeronautical Federation (IAF) Hall of Fame last year during the closing ceremony of IAF Congress 2016 in Guadalajara, Mexico. Under the 2017 Padma Vibhushan award winning scientist, India carried out at least 20 satellites project including the country’s first, Aryabhatta.
Rao was serving as the Chairman of the Governing Council of the Physical Laboratory at Ahmedabad and was the Chancellor of the Indian Institute of Science and Technology at Thiruvananthapuram, according to ISRO. He had also worked as a faculty member at MIT and held the position of Assistant Professor at University of Texas at Dallas. He was inducted into the prestigious “Satellite Hall of Fame” at Washington DC in 2013.
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Professor Rao published over 350 scientific and technical papers covering wide range of topics including cosmic rays, interplanetary physics, high energy astronomy, space applications and satellite and rocket technology. He also wrote several books on subjects related to space research.