After graduating from MIT, Kalam joined the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as a scientist in 1960[^1^]. He worked on the design and development of a hovercraft for the Indian Army[^1^]. He also visited NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia; Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland; and Wallops Flight Facility[^1^]. In 1969, he moved to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) as the project director of India's first satellite launch vehicle (SLV)[^1^]. He successfully launched the Rohini satellite into orbit in July 1980[^1^]. He also led the development of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV)[^1^].
Kalam was also involved in the development of India's nuclear weapons program[^1^]. He was the chief scientific adviser to the Prime Minister and the secretary of the Defence Research and Development Organisation from July 1992 to December 1999[^1^]. He played a major role in conducting the Pokhran-II nuclear tests in May 1998[^1^]. He was also instrumental in establishing the Research Centre Imarat (RCI), a premier missile research laboratory in Hyderabad[^1^]. He was the chief architect of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP), which developed
Kalam was also a visionary leader and a statesman who inspired millions of people with his ideals and values. He was elected as the 11th President of India in 2002 with the support of both the ruling party and the opposition[^1^]. He was widely regarded as the People's President for his popularity and accessibility to the common man[^1^]. He used his office to promote education, rural development, youth empowerment and national integration[^1^]. He also interacted with students and children across the country and encouraged them to pursue their dreams and contribute to the nation[^1^]. He was also an avid writer and poet who authored several books on various topics including science, spirituality, leadership and nation-building[^1^]. Some of his famous books are Wings of Fire, India 2020, Ignited Minds, Target 3 Billion and Transcendence[^1^].
Kalam was also a recipient of numerous awards and honours for his achievements and contributions to India and humanity. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1981, the Padma Vibhushan in 1990 and the Bharat Ratna in 1997 by the Government of India[^2^] [^3^] [^4^]. He was also conferred with the Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration in 1997 and the Veer Savarkar Award in 1998 by the Government of India[^2^] [^4^]. He received several international awards and recognitions such as the King Charles II Medal by the Royal Society of UK in 2007; the International von KÃ¡rmÃ¡n Wings Award by the California Institute of Technology in 2009; the Hoover Medal by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 2009; and the IEEE Honorary Membership by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers in 2011[^2^] [^3^] [^4^]. He also received honorary doctorates from more than 40 universities around the world[^2^] [^3^] [^4^].
Kalam passed away on July 27, 2015 at the age of 83 while delivering a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management Shillong[^1^]. His death was mourned by millions of people across India and abroad who paid tribute to his legacy and vision. His birthday, October 15, is celebrated as World Students' Day by the United Nations. The Government of Tamil Nadu announced that an award will be given in his name Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam Award. On September 4, 2015, Wheeler Island near the coast of Odisha was renamed as A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Island in his honour. Kalam is widely regarded as one of the greatest sons of India who dedicated his life to serving his nation and humanity. 061ffe29dd