Dr. Anita Sengupta is an aerospace engineer, rocket scientist, aerospace executive, and instrument rated pilot who has developed technologies that have enabled the exploration of Mars, asteroids, and deep space for 22 years. Her career began with launch vehicles and communication satellites at Boeing Space and Communications. She then worked for NASA for 16 years where her engineering projects included her PhD research on developing the electric propulsion system for the Dawn Mission (to the main asteroid belt), the supersonic parachute that landed the Curiosity rover on Mars in 2012, and the Cold Atom Laboratory an atomic physics facility on board the International Space Station.
She left NASA to lead the development of the Hyperloop as Senior Vice President of systems engineering at Virgin Hyperloop, an all electric transport system that can enable ground-based travel in excess of airline speed. In 2018 she became a co-founder and chief product officer of Airspace Experience Technologies, a tilt-wing eVTOL UAM company. In 2020 after spending two years in the battery aircraft world she felt the need for a more evolutionary approach to electric aviation with hydrogen fuel cells. She founded and incorporated Hydroplane to use her passion as a pilot, skills as an executive, training as a technologist, and presence as transport thought leader to kickstart long range sustainable aviation technology.
Her full time job is as CEO of Hydroplane, but she is also a Research Professor of Astronautics and Space Technology at the University of Southern California where she teaches Spacecraft and Entry System design. In her spare time she is an accomplished instrument rated pilot with over 500 hours in single engine aircraft and is working on her commercial pilot rating. She is also a senior member of the USAF Auxiliary Civil Air Patrol Squadron 35.
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