Biography : Susmita Mohanty is the only space entrepreneur in the world to have started companies on 3 different continents. She is the CEO of Earth2Orbit, India's first private start-up and her third venture. She has co-founded two other companies, MOONFRONT in San Francisco [2001-2007] and LIQUIFER in Vienna [2004-ongoing]. Prior to turning entrepreneur, she worked for the International Space Station (ISS) Program at Boeing in California and did a short stint at NASA Johnson working on Shuttle-Mir projects. Educated in India, France, and Sweden, Susmita holds multiple degrees including a PhD. In 2017, she was featured on cover of Fortune Magazine. More @ www.themoonwalker.in
India's Stellar Journey: A Rocket on a Bicycle to Mars-shot
Abstract : The presentation begins with my personal journey - as global space entrepreneur raised amongst the pioneers of the Indian space program. It then dovetails into a kaleidoscopic narrative of India's 55-year old space journey - then, by example, sets the tone for how the Eastern Hemisphere (outside the context of 'space race' and cold war) is reinterpreting, and redefining the future of space travel, exploration, utilization; and how the East differently perceives space, philosophically, culturally, and ecologically.
India launched its 1st experimental rocket in 1963, set up a fledgling office at the Mary Magdalene church in Kerala (courtesy, a bishop, his parish and local fishermen). Cut to 2014, when India became the first nation to make it to Mars on its first attempt, the media got fixated on the 'uber-low' price tag, which was really just fine print. What was mind-blowingly-cool is that the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) pulled-off a planetary mission in just 14 months after the budget was approved; most space agencies take 5-7 years for a planetary mission.
ISRO is now a mature organization, a landmark institution in own right. It designs, builds, launches satellites routinely; uses its space assets for telecommunication, remote sensing, meteorology, and GPS for applications to improve the quality of life of its people. In 2008, India launched its planetary exploration mission debut with a Moon orbiter. ISRO has one of the best gender ratios and has now set its goal to launch humans into Low Earth Orbit (LEO) by 2022.
|Rocket cone being carried on a bicycle in Thumba, circa 1960s; |
ISRO women celebrating the arrival of MOM on Mars at the mission control in Bangalore in 2014
(Photo Credit: ISRO)