tech2 News StaffMar 10, 2021 09:46:44 IST
Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the 89th birthday of ‘India’s Satellite Man’ – professor and scientist Udupi Ramachandra Rao. A protégé of Dr Vikram Sarabhai, Rao is considered the father of India’s space program. He spearheaded the satellite program in India as he believed it would solve society’s problems of poverty and food shortage. He also was the driving force behind the launch of India’s first satellite – Aryabhata. Rao was the former chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
Rao was born in 1932 in a village in Karnataka. After finishing his primary (a village called Adamaru) and secondary (Christian High School, Udupi) education, Rao graduated with a Bachelor degree in Science from Government Arts and Science College, Anantpur, Andhra Pradesh. He received his Master degree from the Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi and a doctorate from the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad. At PRL, he studied and worked under Sarabhai giving him the chance to become his protégé . Rao later became the Chairman of the Governing Council of PRL.
Later, he worked in the US, first as a cosmic ray scientist at MIT and then as an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at Dallas. He also worked with NASA, conducting experiments on its Pioneer and Explorer spacecraft.
On his return to India, he undertook the responsibility of developing a satellite program in India’s space agency. He began the program in 1972 and the first satellite – Aryabhata – was launched in 1975. Over the course of his career at ISRO, he worked on 18 satellites including Bhaskara, APPLE, Rohini, INSAT-1 and INSAT-2 and the IRS-1A and IRS-1B. He also worked on rocket technology that led to the development of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).