Former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman and renowned scientist Udupi Ramachandra Rao passed away at his residence in Bengaluru early on Monday. Rao, who was hospitalised earlier in 2017 with a heart ailment, breathed his last at about 2.30am, The Times of India reported. He was 85 years old. He had launched India's first satellite Aryabhata in 1975.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that he was saddened by Rao's demise.
Saddened by demise of renowned scientist, Professor UR Rao. His remarkable contribution to India's space programme will never be forgotten.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 24, 2017
The former ISRO chief was serving as the chairman of the governing council of the physical research laboratory at Ahmedabad and the chancellor of the Indian Institute of Science and Technology at Thiruvananthapuram.
For his immense contribution to development of India's space technology, Rao was inducted by International Astronautical Federation (IAF) in 2016 into its Hall of Fame .
Rao has held several top positions over the years, including at foreign universities. Rao, who served as the chairman of ISRO for about 10 years between 1984-1994, was conferred the Padma Vibhushan in January 2017, reported Deccan Herald. He was previously awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1976.
Born in Adamaru village near Udupi, Rao has also worked on satellite payloads and development of satellite technology with Vikram Sarabhai, known as the father of Indian space programme, reported International Business Times.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Jul 24, 2017 11:33 AM