On the 89th birthday anniversary of Prof Udupi Ramachandra Rao, Google honoured him with an animated doodle. The doodle features Prof Rao holding India's first satellite, Aryabhata, with an image of Earth in the background.
Who is Udupi Ramachandra Rao?
Born in Adamaru, Karnataka in 1932, Prof Rao started his career as a cosmic-ray physicist and worked under the guidance of Dr Vikram Sarabhai - the father of India’s space program. After his work in the US, Prof realized that use of space technology was imperative for development and took up the responsibility to establish satellite technology in India in 1972.
The Google Doodle page elaborates on the progress of the professor's initiative in Indian satellite technology and mentions that the Prof got ‘motivated by the practical applications of aerospace technology to solve societal problems such as poverty and food shortages.’ To advance the communication and meteorological services, Prof Rao supervised the 1975 launch of India’s first satellite - Aryabhata. During the time he was the chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
Following his success in the field, Prof Rao became the first Indian to be inducted into the Satellite Hall of Fame in 2013, the same year that PSLV launched India’s first interplanetary mission - Mangalyaan - a satellite that orbits Mars today.
The professor has received many awards for his exemplary contribution to the development of Indian satellite technology. Two of the most prestigious awards he received were Padma Bhushan (1976) and Padma Vibhushan (2017), among many others.
Prof Rao has been much-appreciated abroad as well. He received a Medal of Honour by the Academy of Sciences, USSR in 1975 and Theodore Von Karman Award - the highest award of the International Academy of Astronautics – in 2005, among many others.