India: In a boost to the country”s credentials in space research, an Indian is being honoured by an American space society for the first time. The Society of Satellite Professionals International (SSPI) is inducting Prof U R Rao, former ISRO chairman and secretary, department of space, as a member of the prestigious ”Satellite Hall of Fame” in Washington on March 19.
Rao was chairman of ISRO between 1984 and 1994 and was responsible for the establishment of satellite technology in India since 1972. Beginning with the launch of the first Indian satellite, Aryabhatta, in 1975, he was a key figure in the design and development of over 18 satellites. He also played a key role in choosing the five scientific instruments for India”s Mars Orbiter Mission, slated for lift-off in October-November 2013.
Speaking to TOI from Bangalore, Rao said he was very happy on hearing the news. “I will be attending the function in Washington,” he said.
Since 1987, the SSPI Hall of Fame has been recognising the contribution of visionaries who have transformed life on planet earth for the better through satellite technology. As a member of the Hall of Fame, Rao joins over 40 illustrious space scientists such as Sir Arthur C Clarke, Dr James Van Allen, Dr William Pritchard, Dr Harold Rosen, Dr Fredric d”Allest, Dr Takayashi Yoshida, Dr Peter Jackson and Dr Olof Lundbserg.