Former Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), U.R. Rao has been ranked by the U.S. magazine, Space News, among the top 10 international personalities who have made a difference in civil, commerce and military space in the world since 1989. During his tenure as the ISRO Chairman, India developed its own communication, weather and high-resolution imaging (remote-sensing) satellites, Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicles, and a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle.
An ISRO press-release has quoted Joan Johnson Freese, an analyst of the Asian space programmes and chair of the department of national security decision-making at the Naval War College in Newport, U.S., as saying in the Space News that one of the testaments to Prof. Rao’s skills was that he built such a robust space programme in a democratic country, which is much more difficult than in countries with autocratic rulers. Throughout his career, Prof. Rao emphasized the importance of keeping the space programme focused on technology that would aid the country’s development, which included weather, remote sensing and communication satellites. The others in the top 10 are: Rene Auselmo, Daniel S. Goldin, Norman R. Augustine, Admiral Harold W. Gehman, Donald Rumsfeld, U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski, Gen. Thomas S. Moorman, Romain Bausch, and Rupert Murdoch.