Prof U R Rao, is an internationally renowned space scientist who has made original contributions to the development of space technology in India and its extensive application to communications and remote sensing of natural resources.
Presently, he is the Chairman of the Governing Council of the Physical Research Laboratory at Ahmedabad. After working as a Faculty Member at MIT and Assistant Professor at University of Texas at Dallas where he carried out investigations as a prime experimenter on a number of Pioneer and Explorer spacecrafts, Prof. Rao returned to India in 1966 as Professor at the Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad.
Convinced of the imperative need to use space technology for rapid development, Prof. Rao undertook the responsibility for the establishment of satellite technology in India in 1972. Under his guidance, beginning with the first Indian satellite 'Aryabhata' in 1975, over 18 satellites were designed and launched for providing communication, remote sensing and meteorological services.
After taking charge as Chairman, Space Commission and Secretary, Department of Space in 1984, Prof. Rao accelerated the development of rocket technology, resulting in the successful launch of ASLV rocket and the operational PSLV launch vehicle, which can launch 2.0 ton class of satellites into polar orbit. Prof. Rao initiated the development of the geostationary launch vehicle GSLV and the development of cryogenic technology in 1991.
Prof Rao has published over 350 scientific and technical papers covering cosmic rays, interplanetary physics, high energy astronomy, space applications and satellite and rocket technology and authored many books.He is also the recipient of D.Sc. (Hon. Causa) Degree from over 21 Universities including University of Bologna, the oldest University in Europe.