Prof. U R Rao
M.Sc., Ph.D., F.A.Sc., F.N.A.
13th Main, HAL , 2nd Cross,
Bangalore - 560 038
Prof U R Rao is an internationally renowned space scientist who has made original contributions to the development of space technology in India and its extensive application to communications and remote sensing of natural resources. Presently he is the Chairman of the Governing Council of the Physical Research Laboratory at Ahmedabad, which is considered as the cradle of India's Space Program. He is also the Chairman of the Prasar Bharati Corporation in charge of Radio and TV Broadcasting in India.
Prof Rao started his career as a cosmic ray scientist, under the late Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, which work he continued at MIT. In association with the JPL group, he was the first to establish the continuous nature of the solar wind and its effect on geomagnetism using Mariner 2 observations. Prof. Rao's experiments on a number of Pioneer and Explorer spacecrafts, led to a complete understanding of the solar cosmic ray phenomena and the electromagnetic state of the interplanetary space. Prof U R Rao and his group have also carried out extensive work in X-ray and Gamma Ray high energy astronomy using rocket and satellite borne payloads.
Convinced of the imperative need to use space technology for rapid development, Prof. Rao undertook the responsibility for the establishment of satellite technology in India in 1972. Under his guidance, beginning with the first Indian satellite 'Aryabhata' in 1975, over 15 satellites including Bhaskara, APPLE, Rohini, INSAT-1 and INSAT-2 series of multipurpose satellites and the sophisticated IRS-1A and 1B remote sensing satellites were designed, fabricated and launched. He was also responsible for the development of the second generation remote sensing satellites IRS-1C and 1D.
After taking charge as Chairman, Space Commission and Secretary, Department of Space in 1984, Prof. Rao accelerated the development of rocket technology, resulting in the successful launch of ASLV rocket in 1992. He was also responsible for the development of the operational PSLV launch vehicle which successfully launched a 850 kg. satellite into a polar orbit in 1995. Prof. Rao initiated the development of the geostationary launch vehicle GSLV and the development of cryogenic technology in 1991.
Prof. Rao has tirelessly worked towards the utilisation of the vast benefits from space technology for the development of India. INSATs initiated a total communication revolution in India, providing nationwide communication, TV Broadcasting, Developmental Education, Radio-Networking, Multimedia, Meteorological and Disaster Warning Services. Remote sensing satellites are now operationally used for monitoring and management of agriculture, forestry, fisheries, wasteland, underground and surface water, drought and flood. Prof. Rao has been responsible for evolving the highly innovative, integrated sustainable management strategy at micro-level, combining the vital inputs from space with biotechnological advances to achieve sustainable development.
Prof Rao has published over 300 scientific and technical papers in various national and international journals covering cosmic rays, interplanetary physics, high energy astronomy, space applications and satellite and rocket technology. He has authored many books, notable amongst which are "Physics of the Communication", "Space and Agenda 21 - Caring for the Planet Earth" and "Space Technology for Sustainable Development".
Prof. Rao is an elected Fellow of many academies such as Indian Academy of Sciences, Indian National Science Academy, National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Electronics and Telecommunications Engineers, International Academy of Astronautics and Third World Academy of Sciences. Prof. Rao, was the General President of the Indian Science Congress Association for 1995-96. Prof. Rao, was the Vice President of International Astronautical Federation (IAF) during 1984 to 1992 and continues to be the Chairman of the Committee for Liaison with Developing Countries (CLIODN) since 1986. Prof Rao was elected as the Chairman of United Nations -Committee On Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN-COPUOS) in June 1997 and also Chairman of UNISPACE-III Conference.
Prof. Rao is the recipient of many national and international awards such as, Group Achievement Award of NASA, Karnataka State Award, Vikram Sarabhai Research Award, Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Memorial Award, National Design Award and VASVIK Research Award. He was also awarded PC Mahalanobis Medal, Yuri Gagarin Medal of USSR, Meghnad Saha Gold Medal, P.C. Chandra Puraskar, Zaheer Hussein Memorial Award, Aryabhata Award, Om Bhasin Award, Jawaharlal Nehru Award, SK Mitra Birth Centenary Gold Medal, Yudhvir Foundation Award, Gujar Mal Modi Science Foundation Award, Nadoja Award from Kannada University, Hampi and Life Time Contribution Award in Engineering of INAE. Prof. Rao was awarded 1992 Allan D. Emil Memorial Award for International Cooperation, Frank J Malina Award for space education by the International Astronautical Federation, Vikram Sarabhai Medal by COSPAR and Eduard Dolezal Award of ISPRS.
Prof Rao is a recipient of D. Litt. (Hon. Causa) from Kannada University, Hampi /D.Sc (Hon. Causa) from more than fifteen Universities, including Mysore, Rahuri, Calcutta, Mangalore, Banaras, Udaipur, Sri Venkateshwara University, Tirupathi, Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad, Anna University, Madras, University of Roorkee, Punjabi University, Sri Shahu Ji Maharaj University, Kanpur, Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad, Ch. Charan Singh University, Meerut and the oldest University in Europe, University of Bologna (Italy).
Prof Rao was awarded 'Padma Bhushan' by the Government of India in 1976.