Today’s Google doodle is a tribute to Prof. Udupi Ramachandra Rao who was an internationally renowned space scientist at the India Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Google is celebrating the 89th birthday of the late veteran who was one of the primary pillars responsible for launching the first Indian satellite into space. Also Read - Google Doodle celebrates Dr. Vera Gedroits’ 151st birthday, Russia’s first female military surgeon
Apart from the above, Rao played a pivotal role in the overall development of the space technology department in India and its extensive application to communications and remote sensing of natural resources. Also Read - Starlink satellite broadband service faces challenge in India, Elon Musk led company questioned
For his contributions, he is also known as the ‘satellite man’ of India. Also Read - Happy International Women's Day 2021: Google dedicates special Doodle to celebrate the firsts in women’s history
Who was Prof. Udupi Ramachandra Rao?
Born at Adamaru in the state of Karnataka in 1932, U.R Rao completed his B.Sc in Government Arts and Science College in Anantpur and did his Ph.D at the Physical Research Laboratory in Ahmedabad.
He worked as a faculty member at MIT and was also the assistant professor at the University of Texas at Dallas where he carried out experiments on a number of spacecraft.
Rao returned to India in 1966 and took over the role of professor at the Physical Research Lab in Ahemdabad where he initiated an extensive high energy astronomy program.
The ‘satellite man’ of India
In 1972, U.R Rao began spearheading India’s satellite program. Motivated by the practical applications of aerospace technology, Rao wanted to solve societal problems in India like poverty and food shortages.
Rao’s biggest achievement was when he supervised the launch of India’s first satellite —Aryabhatta— in 1975. Apart from that, he also helped and supervised the development of 19 other Indian satellites, most of which orbit the Earth today.
From 1984 to 1994, Prof. Rao continued to work in the region of space exploration and took the national space program to new heights as the Chairman of ISRO. Here he also developed rocket technology such as the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), which has to date launched over 250 satellites.
For his achievement, Rao was the first Indian to be inducted into the Satellite Hall of Fame in 2013, the same year when ISRO launched the country’s first interplanetary mission —Mangalyaan— a satellite that still orbits the red planet.