Former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman and world renowned space scientist UR Rao passed away in the early hours of Monday at his residence in Bengaluru. He was 85-years-old and battling heart ailment for some time.

Part of various successful missions by ISRO, Rao was conferred with Padma Vibhushan this year.

Professor UR Rao was also one of the prime architects in the launch of India’s first satellite Aryabhata and over 18 satellites including Bhaskara, APPLE, Rohini, INSAT-1 and INSAT-2 series.

Rao started his career as a cosmic ray scientist, under Dr. Vikram Sarabhai. He was responsible for the launch of India’s first satellite Aryabhata on 19 April 1975.

He was also inducted into the prestigious Satellite Hall of Fame in 2013 at a glittering ceremony organised by the Society of Satellite Professionals International in Washington.

Rao was currently serving as the Chairman of the Governing Council of the Physical Research Laboratory at Ahmedabad and Nehru Planetarium at Bengaluru and chancellor of Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST) at Thiruvananthapuram.

Born in Adampur village in Udupi, Karnataka, Rao was associated with numerous programmes from Aryabhatta in early days to Mars Orbiter Mission.