New Delhi: Acknowledged as the driving force behind India's quest for cutting-edge defence technologies, former president Dr Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam's contributions to India's satellite programmes, guided and ballistic missiles project, nuclear weapons programme and the Light Combat Aircraft(LCA) project made him a household name.
Kalam made significant contribution as Project Director to develop India's first indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III) which successfully injected the Rohini satellite in the near earth orbit in July 1980 and made India an exclusive member of the space club.
Kalam was also behind the evolution of Indian Space Research Organisation's launch vehicle programme, particularly the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) configuration. After working for two decades in ISRO and mastering launch vehicle technologies, he took up the responsibility of developing Indigenous Guided Missiles at Defence Research and Development Organisation as the Chief Executive of Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP).
He also gave thrust to self-reliance in defence systems by progressing multiple development tasks and mission projects such as Light Combat Aircraft.
According to the New Indian Express, Kalam was one of the key figures who inspired the ISRO into taking up its missions to Moon and Mars.
Indian space agency chief AS Krishna Kumar termed the sudden demise of Kalam a tremendous loss to the country. "It is extremely sad to know that Kalam is no more. He was such a great personality and a gentleman. No words to express," Kumar said.
Kumar said that even at the age of 83 years, the missile man was thinking about finding better solutions for the country's energy requirements.