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U.R. Rao, ISRO Chairman Who Helped India’s Space Programme Settle Down, No More

24 Jul 2017, 08:45 UTC
U.R. Rao, ISRO Chairman Who Helped India’s Space Programme Settle Down, No More
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Rao succeeded Satish Dhawan and helped ISRO work more systematically, in the process leading a series of significant projects like the INSAT 2 and PSLV.
U.R. Rao, 2013. Source: Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre
Udupi Ramachandra Rao, the renowned space scientist and former chief of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), passed away early July 24 in Bengaluru. He was 85.
Rao’s legacy at ISRO is difficult to miss. In his lifetime, he made great contributions to kickstarting India’s satellites programme; he was also part of the team that led the development of the SLV-3 rocket, which later evolved into the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), and initiated work on the Geo-Synchronous Launch Vehicle (GSLV) rocket.
As the third chairman of ISRO after two greats, Vikram Sarabhai and Satish Dhawan, Rao’s tenure marked an important transition. Sarabhai’s time was marked by ambitions aspirations even though, in his words, it was a case of “the blind leading the blind”. Dhawan’s tenure was marked by a reorganisation of ISRO’s activities and a transition from horizontal to vertical project management. Rao’s time, in furtherance of this trend of settling down, was marked by a transition from experimentation to operations.
He was born on March ...

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