Dr. Anita Sengupta
Dr. Anita Sengupta is an aerospace engineer, rocket scientist, professor, commercial pilot, and executive, 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, the Orion drogue parachute system development, 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. She next spent several years in the battery-powered eVTOL sector and saw the need for a more evolutionary approach to electric aviation, with hydrogen fuel cell technology. In 2020 she founded Hydroplane Ltd., to develop a novel hydrogen fuel cell powered electric powerplant for aircraft – using her passion as a pilot, skills as an executive, training as a technologist, and presence as transport thought leader to enable truly sustainable aviation.
Her full time job is as CEO of Hydroplane, but she is also a Research Professor of Astronautical Engineering at the University of Southern California where she teaches Spacecraft and Entry System design. In her spare time she is a commercial pilot with over 600 hours in single engine aircraft. She is also a Captain in the USAF Auxiliary Civil Air Patrol with emergency service roles of mission transport pilot. Dr. Sengupta is also a science communicator and public speaker on the topics of space exploration, the future of flight, and green energy.