Udupi Ramachandra Rao (1932-2017)
Udupi Ramachandra Rao, the grand old man of Indian space programme, is no more. Mr Rao, 85, passed away in Bengaluru last month. Active almost until his last days, Mr Rao had been to his office in the Department of Space's Antariksh Bhavan about three weeks ago. The celebrated space scientist was the fourth chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in its critical, formative years between 1984 and 1994. ISRO credits him with establishing the development of indigenous satellite technology and rockets, like ASLV and the PSLV.
Yash Pal (1926-2017)
Renowned scientist Yash Pal, 90, died in Noida last month. In the 1970s, as director of the Space Applications Centre, a wing of the ISRO, Mr Pal had put together a team of young scientists from the TIFR to develop remotesensing technologies. He began his career as a professor at the TIFR and went on to hold several senior government positions. A well-known science communicator, Mr Pal brought galaxies and cosmic rays to living rooms across India via Turning Point, an extremely popular science show on Doordarshan.
Badrinarayan Ramulal Barwale (1931-2017)
Badrinarayan Ramulal Barwale, who turned Jalna, an otherwise-nondescript district in Maharashtra, into the epicentre of the Indian seeds industry, breathed his last in Mumbai last month. Mr Barwale, who was 86, founded India's first private seed company, Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company (Mahyco), in 1964 and remained its chairman till his end. Widely regarded as the father of the Indian seeds industry, Mr Barwale played an important role in bringing Bt cotton into the country in 2002 with Mahyco forming a 50:50 venture with US-based Monsanto Investments.