The man behind the launch of India’s first satellite Aryabhatta 1, passed away at 3:00 am today. Udupi Ramachandra Rao was a former space scientist and Indian Space Research Organization’s chairman. The 85 year old man died at his residence due to illness and several age related health issues as stated by the officials of ISRO.

UR Rao was holding the chairmanship of Governing Council of the Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad, Nehru Planetarium, Bengaluru and was a chancellor of Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also tweeted about his demise. In his lifetime Rao was awarded Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan in 1976 and 2017.