Biography:Anita Sengupta

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Anita Sengupta
Glasgow, Scotland
EducationUniversity of Southern California
Known forHyperloop
Cold Atom Laboratory [1]
Mars Science Laboratory[2]
Deep Space 1[3]
Ion propulsion[4]
AwardsBest technical paper by the Electric Propulsion Technical Committee of the AAIAA [5]
ASEI Woman Engineer of the Year Recipient
Scientific career
FieldsAerospace engineer
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
California Institute of Technology
University of Southern California
Virgin Hyperloop One
Airspace Experience Technologies
ThesisExperimental and Analytical Investigation of a Ring Cusp Ion Thruster Discharge Chamber Physics and Performance (2005)

Anita Sengupta is an aerospace engineer.[6][7][8] She is a graduate in aerospace and mechanical engineering (MS '00, Ph.D. '05) of the Viterbi School of Engineering at the University of Southern California. She was the lead systems engineer of the team that developed the revolutionary supersonic parachute system that was deployed during the landing of Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity.[9] She was subsequently the project manager of the Cold Atom Laboratory at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Caltech.[1] She was then the Senior Vice President of Systems Engineering at Virgin Hyperloop One[10]. She is currently Chief Product Officer at Airspace Experience Technologies (ASX).[11]

Cold Atom Laboratory

Anita Sengupta was the CAL Project Manager.[1] CAL is a facility for the study of ultra-cold quantum gases in the microgravity environment of the International Space Station (ISS). It will enable research in a temperature regime and force free[clarification needed] environment that is inaccessible to terrestrial laboratories. In the microgravity environment, up to 20 second long interaction times and as low as 1 picokelvin temperatures are achievable, unlocking the potential to observe new quantum phenomena. The CAL facility is designed for use by multiple scientific investigators and to be upgradable/maintainable on orbit. CAL will also be a pathfinder experiment for future quantum sensors based on laser cooled atoms.

CAL was scheduled to launch in 2016 on a Pressurized Cargo Vehicle in soft-stowage. After docking with ISS the CAL payload was to be installed by astronauts into an EXPRESS (EXpedite the PRocessing of Experiments to Space Station) rack inside the space station. The EXPRESS rack provides a standardized power, data, thermal, and mechanical interface to scientific payloads. CAL was to occupy a quad locker space due to its size and power requirements. Following installation the payload will be operated remotely via sequence control from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The initial mission was planned to have a duration of 12 months with up to five years of extended operation.

Early life

Sengupta was born in Glasgow, Scotland before emigrating to New York where she was raised thereafter.[12] Her father hailed from West Bengal, India, and was a mechanical engineer from the Indian Institute of Technology. Her British mother was an expert in French and German. Her parents met while pursuing a PhD at the University of Liverpool. From as young as age six, Sengupta admits being hooked on Star Trek character Spock, and his adventures onboard a 23rd-century starship.[13]

See also

  • Adam Steltzner
  • Bobak Ferdowsi


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Cold Atom Laboratory:People". Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Caltech. Retrieved 12 December 2014. 
  2. "Curiosity's Seven Minutes of Terror". June 22, 2012. Retrieved August 6, 2012. 
  3. "Deep Space 1". June 22, 2012. Retrieved August 6, 2012. 
  4. "Ion Propulsion". September 3, 2002. Retrieved August 6, 2012. 
  5. "AIAA award". Jet Propulsion Laboratory. USC. Retrieved 10 June 2005. 
  6. WYSK (August 27, 2012). "Women Talk: 10+ Questions With Rocket Scientist, Dr. Anita Sengupta". Women You Should Know. Retrieved April 3, 2015. 
  7. "Landing a rover was career highlight, says Anita Sengupta". The Hindu. August 21, 2013. Retrieved April 3, 2015. 
  8. Andy Meek. "What It's Like To Be One Of The Few Female Aerospace Engineers". Fast Company. Retrieved April 3, 2015. 
  9. "NASA-JPL Systems Engineer and Viterbi School Alumna on Early Influences and Designing Curiosity's Parachute". USC - Viterbi School of Engineering. Retrieved 12 December 2014. 
  10. "Team | Hyperloop One". 2018-10-20. 
  11. "ASX team". 
  12. "Soft Mars landing thanks to engineer from Bishopbriggs" (in en). 
  13. "At home in space - Scientist hooked on Spock as 6-year-old" (in en). Sengupta was the original source. Read more.