Father of satellite Technology – Former ISRO Chairman – Tribute to Professor Rao

Professor Rao - ISRO scientiestProfessor Rao was the person who initiated me into space science.

When I joined the Thumba rocket launching station as a youngster, Dr (A P J Abdul) Kalam was my boss.

Dr Kalam was just starting the paylad integration section and I was put in charge of that.

That was the time Professor Rao had come back from the US; he was at the Physical Research Laboratory in Ahmedabad.

One of his research fellows along with a Japanese scientist was building a payload, and we were asked to integrate the payload with the rocket.

So, in September 1967, I was sent to Ahmedabad. I spent a few weeks with Professor Rao and that was the starting point of my space career.

I was a raw electrical engineer, fresh out of college. The lessons on the galaxy, universe and space were quite new to me and my interactions with him guided me towards space science.

He was extremely encouraging, and was available if I had any doubts. Moreover, he was quite knowledgeable and conversant on the subject.

Later, when he was head of the satellite division at Thumba, we had a very healthy competition, so to say.

His division had proposed the development of the tele-command system for the SLV 3 during Dr (Vikram) Sarabhai’s time. Dr Kalam was in charge of the whole programme.

I was one of the contenders for the tele-command system. To my surprise, I won the competition and was made the project director.

What followed were some of the very rewarding moments of interaction with Professor Rao.

Later he moved to Bangalore, building satellites. I would say he was the father of satellite technology in India.

Personally, I had lots of opportunities to interact with him in those days. He always respected competence in people and recognised skill. He was never biased by any personal feelings.

He was a workaholic and respected people who worked hard. Maybe that’s why he respected me.

He was a man in a hurry, and wanted instant results. He was very impatient as far as work was concerned.

He always wanted perfection from everyone.

It was a great experience spending time with a person who had excellent analytical skills, had the ability to spot problems and find the solutions, and the determination to see that problems were solved immediately.

After the SLV3 launch in 1984, I was moved to the electronic division at the Sarabhai Centre, which was not a significant post at that time.

When Professor Rao became the chairman, ISRO, he personally moved me to PSLV.

I still remember, one fine morning, I got an order saying that I was appointed as the director, PSLV. He also added that, with full powers of the project director.

Like what happened in 1967, this was also a turning point in my life. It was a huge change for me from the electronics division.

He had this idea about how to groom a person. If I had remained in the electronic division, I would have been making some computers or something like that.

Instead, I was thrown into the PSLV project, and I was the project director for almost 10 years.

Those years were the most rewarding in my life, all thanks to him.


With Professor Rao, there was no hierarchy system; he was encouraging and appreciate of good work.

Though he was the chairman, he used to call me directly and give me technical advice whenever we had any problem.

We always had a very friendly relationship. We also shared some of the most difficult moments in our lives too.

He was the chairman and I was the project director of PSLV when the first launch happened. It was a failure.

When it failed, I was in bad shape.

I went to him to explain and saw him collapsed in his chair due to the shock of the failure.

After a few hours, we started talking about how to come out of the failure and have a successful launch the next year!


At ISRO, as far as the Indian space programme is concerned, all the key technologies — whether it is for the satellites or the launch vehicles or space research programme — he was the father of it all.

He was the initiator of all technologies while Professor Satish Dhawan was the institution builder.

Professor Rao headed the satellite centre, right from Arya Bhatta to IRS to PSLV to in fact, everything.

He was the chairman overseeing everything during the PSLV launch.

When you develop something new, there will be failures and he took the blame for all the failures and we enjoyed the fruits of all the successes.

If we are where we are right now in satellite launches and space technology, it is because of the foundation laid by him.


e was available for advice even after he left ISRO. When I took over as chairman, he was always there for me. We used to interact quite often, especially during the Moon mission, etc.

Last month, I felt I should see him as he was not keeping good health. When I reached Bangalore to meet him at his house, I was told that he was rushed to the Manipal Hospital.

Though I was a bit hesitant to go there, I decided to go in the evening. My plan was to spend a few minutes with him and come back, but to my surprise, he spoke to me for one whole hour!

And it was about the past, present and future of ISRO.

I was surprised by the passion with which he spoke. His wife was a bit alarmed as he had not spoken the whole day.

But when he saw me, nothing could stop him from talking.


One thing that still bothers me is the question he asked me. He asked, ‘Nair, what is happening to our department?’ I heard only the department part. Then, he said, ‘I am worried about ISRO.’

‘Everything is doing very well,’ he continued, ‘but remember these are programmes we had started long ago. What we see now is the continuation of all those programmes.’

‘What is the future of ISRO? What are we planning in the space science arena? What are we doing for the new propulsion system of rockets? What is our plan for human space flight?’

He spoke about ISRO’s future for at least 15 minutes. He wanted to have a new vision for ISRO and was concerned that there was none.

He might have conveyed this to many people and I am sure ISRO will come out with a new vision statement soon.


e was a pioneer in India’s space programme and laid the foundation for all the space technologies which we enjoy today.

I feel the way the country recognised him was not enough; he should have been put on a high pedestal.

The best tribute we can give is initiate more youngsters into the space programme as we need more and more young minds.

Ref : Rediff

Article in Tamil :


இந்தியாவின் மாபெரும் விஞ்ஞானி யுஆர்.ராவ் மற்றும் இஸ்ரோ வளர்ச்சியும்

இந்தியாவின் பழம்பெரும் விஞ்ஞானி யு ராமசந்திர ராவ் அவர்கள் இன்று காலை இறந்தார் மார்ச் 10 1932 ஆம் நாள் கர்நாடகாவில் அடமாரு என்னும் கிராமத்தில் பிறந்தார். ஆரம்பகல்வியை அங்கேயே முடித்தார். முன்னாள் இஸ்ரோவின் தலைவராக இருந்த யு.ஆர்.ராவ் என்று அழைக்கப்படும் யு.ராமசந்திர ராவ் அவர்கள் தன்னுடைய இளங்கலை பிஎஸ்சி பட்டதாரி படிப்பை சென்னை பல்கலைகழகத்தில் பயின்றார் அத்துடன் பனாரசில் 1954 முதுகலை பட்டம் பெற்றார் மற்றும் 1960இல் குஜாராத்தில் பிஹெச்டி பட்டம் பெற்றார். விகரம் சாராபாய் அவர்களின் கீழ் பணியாற்றிய ராவ் அவர்கள் சோலார் காஸ்மிக் வே, ஜியோ மேக்னட்டிஸ் போன்ற பல்வேறு தொழில்நுட்ப கூறுகளை ஆராய்ந்து செயல்படுத்தியுள்ளார் .

யு ஆர்.ராவ் மற்றும் இஸ்ரோ சாதனை : 1972 சேட்டிலைட் தொழிநுடபத்தை வடிவெடுக்கும் பொறுப்பேற்றார் . இவரின் மாபெரும் வழிகாட்டலின் படி 1975இல் ஆர்யப்பட்டா ஏவப்பட்டது . மேலும் யு ஆர்.ராவ் அவர்களின் வழிகாட்ட்டுதலின் படி பாஸ்கரா, ஆப்பிள், ரோகிணி, இன்சாட்1, இன்சாட் 2 உட்ப்பட பல்வேறு கட்டமைப்புகள் செய்துமுடிக்கப்பட்டன. பெருமை வாய்ந்த பெயரை இந்தியா அகில உலக அளவில் பெருவதற்கு இவருடைய பங்களிப்பு பெரும் அளவில் இருந்தது.  இந்தியாவின் ராகெட் தொழில்நுட்பத்துடன் ஏவப்பட்ட ஏஎஸ்எல்வி ராகெட் தெளிவுப்பட விளக்கினார் மற்றும் அத்துடன் 1980இல் பிஎஸ்எல்வி 850கிலோ மேம்பாட்டில் பங்கு வகுத்தார் . அத்துடன் 1991 ஜிஎஸ்எல்வி மேப்பாட்டுடன் கிரையோஜெனிக் தொழில்நுட்ப மேம்பாடு அடைந்தது . இன்சாட் வழங்கிய தொலைதொடர்பு வசதிகள் அனைத்து ஊரக மேம்பாட்டையும் அங்கிகரித்தது. எஸ்டிடி போன்ற சேவைகளை திறம்பட மக்கள் பெற உதவிகரமாக இருந்தார் . இவருடைய ஆரம்பகாலத்தில் கிடைத்த வசதிகள் புதிது ஆனாலும் ஆர்யபட்டா முதல் இன்சாட் வரை நம்மை பெருமைப்படுத்திய இஸ்ரோவின் சாதனையில் யு. ராமசந்திரராவ் அவர்களின்  பங்களிப்பு இன்றியமையாதது ஆகும் . இன்று உலகளவில் முதல் ஐந்து இடங்களில் இந்தியா ஜொலிக்கின்றதென்றால் அவற்றில் யு.ராவ் அவர்கள் முக்கிய காரணமாவார். இன்றைய இளைஞர்கள் இதனை உணர முடியும் வருங்கால இளைஞர்களின் வளர்ச்சிக்கும் ஆராய்ச்சிக்கும் வித்திட்ட பெருமை அவரையேசாரும்

Ref : OneIndia.Tamil


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