President APJ Abdul Kalam on Friday presented the lifetime achievement award to India's top space scientist and former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman UR Rao at a special function.
The award, instituted by ISRO and the Astronautical Society of India (ASI), carries a cash reward of Rs 2 million and a citation. Rao was selected for the award in recognition of his distinguished service to the nation and outstanding contribution in furthering space science, technology and applications in the country.
The president also gave away outstanding achievement awards to five top present and past ISRO scientists: N Pant, SC Gupta, EV Chitnis, BN Suresh and PS Goel. The award carries a cash prize of Rs1 million and a citation.
Similarly, nine scientists were given performance excellence awards (Rs 500,000), 17 scientists and technocrats merit awards (Rs 100,000) and 18 scientists under 35 years young scientist merit awards (Rs 50,000).
Team excellence awards were also presented to the respective team leaders, who were associated with space capsule recovery experiment, Cartosat-Two PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle), Cape (Crop acreage) and Production Estimation and DMS (disaster management system) and Insat 2E on-orbit Management.)
The team award carries a cash prize of Rs 500,000/Rs 200,000 per team and citation to individuals. Goel, secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences and chairman of the Earth Commission, was also presented the Aryabhata Award 2005 in recognition of his distinguished service to space science as director of ISRO satellite centre in Bangalore.
ISRO also decided to gift a gold coin to all its employees numbering about 16,500 who were on rolls as on January 10, 2007. The coins weighing four grams and costing Rs 4000 each, were delivered by Indian Bank, which bagged the order in an open tender.
"The coin is given to commemorate the successful launch of the space capsule recovery experiment by PSLV January 10, 2007, and its successful recovery in the Bay of Bengal January 22.
Four ASI awards were given away to P Vardaraj of the Defence Research and Development Laboratory, Hyderabad, AK Agarwal of ISRO Satellite Centre, Bangalore, SK Shivakumar of ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network, Bangalore, and R Sridharan of Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram.