On the 89th birthday of renowned Indian professor and scientist Udupi Ramachandra Rao, Google is celebrating “India’s Satellite Man” with a doodle today, March 10. Professor Rao, who was an Indian space scientist and chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), died in 2017.
Rao, India’s Satellite Man, was an internationally renowned space scientist who made original contributions to the development of space technology in India, as well as its extensive application to communications and remote sensing of natural resources.
“Born in a remote village of Karnataka on this day in 1932, Prof Rao began his career as a cosmic-ray physicist and protege of Dr Vikram Sarabhai, a scientist widely regarded as the father of India’s space program. After completing his doctorate, Prof Rao brought his talents to the US, where he worked as a professor and conducted experiments on NASA’s Pioneer and Explorer space probes,” the description on Google Doodle’s website reads.
The Google doodle shows a sketch of Professor Rao with a background of the Earth and shooting stars.
Rao, who returned to India in 1966, initiated an extensive high energy astronomy program at the Physical Research Laboratory, India’s premier institution for space sciences. He then spearheaded his country’s satellite program in 1972.
Prof Rao supervised the 1975 launch of India’s first satellite –“Aryabhata”. This was one of over 20 satellites he developed, which then transformed much of rural India by advancing communication and meteorological services.
“From 1984 to 1994, Prof. Rao continued to propel his nation’s space program to stratospheric heights as chairman of India’s Space Research Organization,” according to Google.
Rao developed rocket technology such as the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), which has launched over 250 satellites. He became the first Indian inducted into the Satellite Hall of Fame in 2013. The same year, PSLV launched India’s first interplanetary mission — “Mangalyaan”-a satellite that orbits Mars today.
“Happy Birthday, Prof Rao! Your stellar technological advancements continue to be felt across the galaxy,” the doodle says.