Udupi Ramachandra Rao Age, Death, Wife, Children, Family, Biography & More

Quick Info→
Hometown: Adamaru, Udupi District, Karnataka
Age: 85 Years
Death Date: 24/07/2017

Bio/Wiki
Other Name U. R. Rao [1]ISRO
Nickname(s) Rao Bhava, Ramudu [2]Daiji World
Names earned The Satellite Man of India [3]ANI
Profession Indian space scientist
Famous for • Being the chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation from 1984 to 1994

• Pioneering India’s first satellite launch Aryabhata in 1975

• The film ‘Rocketry: The Nambi Effect’ that was released on 1 July 2022 starring Mohan Raman as Udupi Ramachandra Rao

Physical Stats & More
Eye Colour Black
Hair Colour Semi-bald
Career
Positions held • Chairman of the Governing Council of the Physical Research Laboratory at Ahmedabad and Nehru Planetarium at Bengaluru

• Chancellor of the Indian Institute for Space Science and Technology (IIST) at Thiruvananthapuram

• General President of the Indian Science Congress Association, West Bengal (1995)

• Vice President of International Astronautical Federation (IAF), Paris (1984-1992)

• Co-Chairman of the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research, Goa (2012)

• First chairman of Prasar Bharati, New Delhi (2002)

• Chairman of Karnataka Science and Technology Academy

• Chairman of Bangalore Association of Science Education-JNP

• Chancellor of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University, Lucknow

• Member of Central Board of Directors, Reserve Bank of India

• Additional Director of Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran Private Ltd., Bangalore

• Chairman of Governing Council of Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune

Awards, Honours, Achievements • Padma Bhushan (1976)

• Padma Vibhushan (2017)

• He was provided the Life Time Achievement Award constituted by ISRO and Astronautical Society of India (ASI) by Dr A. P. J. Abdul Kalam.
• On 19 March 2013, he became the first Indian to receive the Satellite Hall of Fame, Washington at a ceremony organized by the Society of Satellite Professionals International.

• He won many national awards including the Electronics Man of the Year Award by ELCINA (1994), Aryabhata Award (1995), Jawaharhal Nehru Award (1995), Press Bureau of India Award (2003), and many more. Some of the international awards won by him are Group Achievement Award by NASA, USA (1973), Frank J Malina Award (1994), Eduard Dolezal Award of ISPRS (2000), Theodore Von Karman Award which is the highest Award of the International Academy of Astronautics (2005), and many more.

• In 2004, he was ranked by the U.S. magazine, Space News, among the top 10 international personalities for making a difference in civil, commerce and military space in the world since 1989.

Personal Life
Date of Birth 10 March 1932 (Thursday)
Birthplace Adamaru, Udupi district, Karnataka (then South Canara district, Madras Presidency, British India)
Date of Death 24 July 2017
Place of Death Indiranagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka
Age (at the time of death) 85 Years
Death Cause Prolonged Illness and age-related issues [4]The Hindu
Zodiac sign Pisces
Nationality Indian
Hometown Adamaru, Udupi district, Karnataka (then South Canara district, Madras Presidency, British India)
School • Christian High School, Udupi
• Veerashaiva College, Karnataka
College/University • Madras University (1952)
• Banaras Hindu University (1954)
• Gujarat University (1960)
Educational Qualification(s) [5]The Indian Express • Bachelor of Science
• Master of Science
• Doctor of Philosophy
Religion Hinduism
Caste Brahmin
Relationships & More
Marital Status (at the time of death) Married
Family
Wife/Spouse Yashoda Rao (scientist)

Children Son– Madan
Daughter– Mala
Parents Father– Lakshminarayana Acharya (worked in a hotel)
Mother– Krishnaveni Amma
Siblings Brother– 3
• Krishnamurthy Acharya (police officer)
• Vittal Acharya
• Sripathi Acharya

Some Lesser Known Facts About Udupi Ramachandra Rao

  • Udupi Ramachandra Rao was an Indian space scientist and chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization between 1984 and 1994.
  • He had an interest in science since childhood. He aspired to serve the armed forces as an emergency commissioned officer after completing his education, but Vikram Sarabhai advised him to conduct research.

    Udupi Ramachandra during his teenage days

  • In 1954, he joined Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) to study PhD under Vikram Sarabhai. In an interview, he said that he was offered Rs. 200 to study PhD under them, but he chose to study under Dr Vikram Sarabhai. After pursuing his PhD, he worked as a faculty member at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge. After working at MIT, he became an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Dallas. After working as a professor, he became a cosmic ray scientist under Dr Vikram Sarabhai.

    Udupi Ramachandra Rao during his college days

  • In 1966, he returned to India and started working as a professor at the Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad.
  • In 1972, he established satellite technology in India to use space technology for development.
  • He helped in the making of the first Indian satellite Aryabhata in 1975.

    Udupi Ramachandra with the model of the Aryabhata satellite

  • Rao went to the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and asked the director to provide him with students who were willing to learn. He trained the students at the industrial sheds that were coming up in Peenya to make Aryabhata.

    Udupi Ramachandra Rao training other scientists while making Aryabhata

  • After the launch of the Aryabhata satellite in 1975, the picture of the satellite was printed on the two rupees note.

    A two rupee note with the picture of the Aryabhata satellite

  • He guided in making over 18 satellites including Bhaskara, APPLE, Rohini, INSAT-1 and INSAT-2. In an interview, he talked about why India should make its own satellites. He said,

    It saves the nation a lot of money. INSAT 2B, which we sent up last month, would have cost us Rs 300 crore in foreign exchange if we had bought it. But building it here cost us only Rs 78 crore. We build launch vehicles too at least a third cheaper than elsewhere. That’s because in hi-technology almost 70 per cent of the costs go in scientific and engineering man-hours and in India it comes very cheap.”

    Udupi Ramachandra Rao with Bhaskara satellite in the background

  • He conducted many experiments on Pioneer and Explorer spacecraft and made the concept of solar cosmic-ray and the electromagnetic state of interplanetary space clear.
  • While he was working in ISRO, he took the responsibility for the launch of INSAT satellites. The INSAT satellites provided telecommunication to many remote areas in India. During the 1980s and 1990s, the landline system gained a lot of popularity.
  • In 1985, he took charge as the Chairman of the Space Commission and Secretary and the Department of Space. He made developments in rocket technology that led to the launch of the ASLV rocket in 1992.
  • In 1991, he contributed to the making of the geostationary launch vehicle GSLV and cryogenic technology.
  • In 1992, Rao received a call from the commissioner of Police telling him that he had escaped a kidnap by some people who wanted to gain prominence by arresting him. The police asked him to go out of the house with an armed personal security officer.
  • After the failed attempt of the launch of PSLV in 1993, he helped in making the operational PSLV launch vehicle that took an 850 kg satellite into orbit in 1995. In an interview, he talked about the failed launch of the satellite and said,
    The launch, in our opinion, was 90 per cent successful. But space is an unforgiving business. Even a one-per cent error is enough for us to fail in the mission’s objective of launching a satellite into orbit. But in terms of new technology it has been the greatest scale-up we have ever done. And all the major motors performed beautifully. The critical sequences in the most difficult powered phase through the earth’s atmosphere went without a hitch.”
  • He was the first Chairman of Antrix Corporation, the commercial hand of ISRO.
  • He was elected as an associate of many academies including the 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.
  • In June 1997, he was elected as the chairman of the United Nations – Committee On Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN-COPUOS) and the UNISPACE-III Conference.
  • In 2004, he made a report on technical education in India that created a lot of issues. He proposed a 30 per cent slash in the annual fees at the Indian Institutes of Management. In an interview, he talked about this and said,
    Private self-financing institutions are charging a lot of money. For example, in Chennai, the fee paid by a student was much as Rs 30 lakhs for medical seats! The directors of various medical institutions, they even offer something called a package deal. That is, you pay upfront one crore, and in seven years you get a guaranteed MD or MS degree. What kind of nonsense is this! I mean, who can afford this kind of money, unless you have black money?”
  • In April 2007, he was elected as the chairman of the 30th International Antarctic Treaty Consultative Committee Meeting held in Delhi.
  • In 2007, when he was serving as the fourth president of the Centre for Space Physics, he changed the name of the body to Indian Centre for Space Physics.
  • He received Honorary Doctrine of Science (D.Sc) from many universities including Mysore (1976), Calcutta (1981), University of Bologna (Italy) (1992), and Madras (Anna University) (1994), and many more.
  • On 15 May 2016, he became the first Indian to be inducted into International Astronautics Federation (IAF).
  • On 10 March 2021, Google paid tribute to him by making a Google Doodle in honour of his 89th birthday. In the description, it wrote, ‘Your stellar technological advancements continue to be felt across the galaxy.’

    Google Doodle’s tribute to Udupi Ramachandra Rao

  • He had written the books, ‘Perspectives in Communications’ (1987), ‘Space and Agenda 21 – Caring for Planet Earth’ (1995), and ‘Space Technology for Sustainable Development (1996).’
  • He had also published more than 350 scientific and technical papers on topics like cosmic rays, astronomy, space applications, satellite, and rocket technology.
  • According to some reports, before his death in 2017, he used to visit his office at ISRO headquarters.
  • His hobbies included playing cricket.

    Udupi Ramachandra Rao playing cricket

  • On 1 July 2022, a film titled ‘Rocketry: The Nambi Effect’ starring Mohan Raman as Udupi Ramachandra Rao was released in theatres.

    Mohan Raman playing the role of Udupi Ramachandra Rao in the film ‘Rocketry The Nambi Effect’

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References/Sources:[+]

References/Sources:

↑1 ISRO
↑2 Daiji World
↑3 ANI
↑4 The Hindu
↑5 The Indian Express

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