People’s President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam was one of the driving forces behind many technology-related projects in India. From satellites to nuclear tests, his contributions will always be remembered by the country.

On his 89th birth anniversary, let’s take a look at his contribution to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

Also read: From a newspaper vendor to India’s President: A short biography of APJ Abdul Kalam

1. Kalam was the Project Director in ISRO when India’s first indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV) was developed. After his decade long efforts, SLV III injected Rohini satellite in the near-earth orbit in July 1980 making India an exclusive Space Club member.

2. He was also the director of Project Devil and Project Valiant in the 1970s. While the aim of Project Devil was to produce a short-range surface-to-air missile, the goal of Project Valiant was to produce an intercontinental ballistic missile. However, they both were discontinued in the1980s but led to the later development of missile ‘Prithvi’.

3. After working for ISRO, Kalam was designated as the CEO of Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP). He then helped in developing the two Indigenous Guided Missiles at DRDO, ‘Agni’ and ‘Prithvi’. At this time he was titled as the ‘Missile Man of India’.

4. He supervised the Pokhran -II nuclear tests and served as the Scientific Adviser to Defence Minister and Secretary in the Department of Defence Research & Development from 1992 to 1999. The nuclear technology made India a nuclear weapon state in 1998.

5. Kalam specialised in the field of Aeronautical Engineering, which made him deeply involved in India’s  Light Combat Aircraft project. He became the first Indian Head of State to fly a fighter plane on June 8, 2006, when he flew the Sukhoi-30 MKI at the Lohegaon Air Force Base in Pune.