Udayavni Special

Prof. Roddam Narasimha – The man whose insight paved the way for India’s successful rocket programme

Team Udayavani, Dec 15, 2020, 3:18 PM IST

Bengaluru: When India’s two successive Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle (ASLV) missions failed in the late 1980s, the then ISRO Chairman Prof. Satish Dhawan constituted internal and external committees to review the programme.

The external panel was chaired by space and aeronautical expert Prof. Roddam Narasimha, whose key insights into the aerodynamics aspects paved the way for subsequent successful flights of the rocket.

“Today, when we talk of success of PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) and GSLV Mk III (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle), we owe it to important inputs that the Prof. Narasimha committee gave”, former ISRO Chairman K Kasturirangan told PTI on Tuesday.

Narasimha, a Padma Vibhushan awardee and a former Director of the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) and the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), died at a private hospital here on Monday at the age of 87.

Scientists and leaders recalled the pioneering contributions of the distinguished engineer-scientist, an authority on fluid mechanics and aerodynamics who had also served as a member of the Space Commission.

Former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman G Madhavan Nair said Narasimha had supported India’s space programme all through.

“He was very frank in his expression, very bold; he was down-to-earth in his approach to everything. Whenever we had problems (space-related), he used to rush to us (ISRO) to help” Nair told PTI.

Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa said the scientific community has lost a stalwart. “His path-breaking work in aerospace and nurturing scientific institutions of national importance will be remembered”, Yediyurappa said.

Kasturirangan said as the NIAS Director, Prof. Narasimha created a very good academic, interdisciplinary atmosphere at the institute.

“He was so learned. He was so scholarly that he had an extraordinary breadth and a very deep understanding of many of the subjects like yogic science, Indian philosophy and history of mathematics”, he said.

Narasimha, who was born on July 20, 1933, served as Professor of aerospace engineering at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) here from 1962 to 1999. He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the country”s second highest civilian honour, in 2013.

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