Tech giant Google has created a special doodle to mark the 89th birth anniversary of India’s Satellite Man, Udupi Ramachandra Rao. He supervised the launch of India’s first satellite—“Aryabhata” in 1975.
Today’s Google Doodle features a sketch of Professor Rao with a background of the planet Earth and shooting stars. “Happy Birthday, Prof. Rao! Your stellar technological advancements continue to be felt across the galaxy,” reads the doodle.
Rao was born in a remote village of Karnataka in 1932. He began his career as a cosmic-ray physicist and protégé of Dr Vikram Sarabhai, a scientist widely regarded as the father of India’s space program.
“After completing his doctorate, Prof. Rao brought his talents to the U.S., where he worked as a professor and conducted experiments on NASA’s Pioneer and Explorer space probes” says the description on Google Doodle website.
He returned to India in 1966 and initiated an extensive high energy astronomy program at the Physical Research Laboratory, India’s premier institution for space sciences, before spearheading his country’s satellite program in 1972.
As mentioned earlier, he supervised the 1975 launch of Aryabhata satellite—one of over 20 satellites he developed that transformed much of rural India by advancing communication and meteorological services.
Rao also served as the Chairman of India’s Space Research Organisation from 1984 to 1994. He also developed rocket technology like the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). Rao was also the first Indian inducted into the Satellite Hall of Fame in 2013, the same year that PSLV launched India’s first interplanetary mission—“Mangalyaan”—a satellite that orbits Mars today.