UR Rao: Who was UR Rao, who built a satellite in an industrial shed outside Bengaluru

UR Rao Man Who Made Satellite: Last week on August 23, when the lander of India’s third moon mission Chandrayaan-3 landed on the south pole of the moon, the hearts of 140 crore Indians were filled with pride. The whole world congratulated India. Today, when the rover of Chandrayaan-3 is carrying out its mission by walking on the surface of the moon, then let us remember the person who encouraged India to fly in space, riding on which a young country has reached the moon. has reached.

This story is of a person who, along with some young scientists, wrote India’s space saga. In the 1970s, when the country was struggling for its basic needs, this scientist prepared a satellite for the country under sheds away from the city of Bangalore. We are talking about UR Rao.

The foundation of India’s space program was laid in 1962

In the year 1962, the first Prime Minister of independent India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru established the Indian National Committee of Space Research (INCOSPAR) and made Vikram Sarabhai its chairman. This later became the Indian Space Research Organisation, more popularly known as ISRO. 

After the formation of INCOSPAR, Vikram Sarabhai started speeding up India’s space mission, but the problem was that no country was ready to give any information about space technology. In such a situation, Sarabhai needed sharp minded people for research and other work. 

Entry of Satellite Man of India

In 1966, Sarabhai called one of his former PhD students to the Physical Research Laboratories (PRL), Ahmedabad. The name of this 34-year-old young scientist was Udupi Ramachandra Rao i.e. UR Rao, who was called the Satellite Man of India. UR Rao had a post doctorate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA and was working on the cosmic range.

When Rao took charge of India’s satellite program, he was the only person in the team who had seen the satellite. At that time the satellite engineering team was divided between Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) near Trivandrum and PRL in Ahmedabad. Vikram Sarabhai died untimely in 1971 and Satish Dhawan became the head of ISRO. 

Satish Dhawan was the director of the Indian Institute of Science and did not want to move out of Bangalore. Dhawan negotiated to shift ISRO from Ahmedabad to Bangalore, which Rao took as an opportunity. Karnataka was his own state. His childhood was spent in Udupi and Bellary. 

Launching the Satellite Program Under the Shade

The search for land started in Bangalore. The Karnataka government gave Rao some sheds just outside the city of Bangalore. These sheds were converted into clean rooms using thermocol, vinyl and duct tape, under which India’s satellite program began.

Under these shades the team of young scientists started working under the leadership of UR Rao, whose average age was 26 years. Work continued here from 1972 to 75 and India’s first satellite Aryabhata was prepared, which was a great step. No country had made a satellite in 3 years. 

After this, 18 more satellite designs were prepared under the supervision of UR Rao. Later he became the chairman of ISRO and remained in this post for a decade. He witnessed the journey of ISRO from ASLV to PSLV. He died in 2017 at the age of 85. ISRO’s satellite center in Bangalore is today named after him.

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