21 Sep 2020

Meet Dr Anita Sengupta

Her love for space and all things unknown has remained clear throughout her life. She specialised in Aerospace Engineering for her degrees, all the way to PhD! After graduating, she worked at Boeing Space and Communications. Here, she concentrated on launch vehicles and satellites. She then used her prior knowledge for 16 years in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at NASA! There, she was part of a plethora of projects, most notably she was a lead system engineer in the team in charge of developing the Curiosity Rover’s supersonic parachute system; and worked as project manager of the ISS’ Cold Atom Laboratory, which she has emphasised as being important for research in Quantum Physics…

“At these cold temperatures, atoms do something unusual. They move together in unison, like a wave. This can give us insight into the quantum realm. It explains strange properties, like superfluidity and superconductivity.”

Meet Dr Anita Sengupta | Stemettes Zine
Expanding horizons

Following this, she was hired as a senior executive on Virgin’s hyperloop. This is an energy-efficient alternative to the typical train system. It works using a vacuum tube where the carriage is levitated and propelled by an electromagnetic system. Her multidisciplinary skills was used in both the planning and design processes.

Now, as a research professor at USC; and CPO and co-founder of Airspace Experience Technologies, her focus is on potential transportation system implementation for Earth and beyond. She is an advocate for space exploration public outreach, giving talks such as From Flying Cars to Humans on Mars – the Future of Transportation to inspire people, especially girls and underrepresented groups for whom there are few female role models in STEM. A life-changing realisation Sengupta had in her teen years is:

“You can’t ever be quiet… that’s stupid and [you’ll never] get anywhere like this.” 


Check out Anita’s website here and her Twitter here >>

Last updated September 2020

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