Dr. Anita Sengupta is an aerospace engineer, commercial pilot, rocket scientist, and veteran of the space program. She has developed technologies that have enabled the exploration of Mars, asteroids, and deep space for 20 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 ion propulsion system for the Dawn Mission (currently in the main asteroid belt), the supersonic parachute that landed the Curiosity rover on Mars, and the Cold Atom Laboratory an atomic physics facility on board the International Space Station.
After leaving NASA she moved into the high-tech transportation sector and led the development of the Hyperloop as Senior Vice President of Systems Engineering at Virgin Hyperloop, a ground based transportation system that operates under vacuum and at jet aircraft speeds.
Her most recent entrepreneurial venture is as CEO of Hydroplane Ltd. which she founded in 2020. Hydroplane Ltd. is developing hydrogen fuel cell power plant technology for carbon emission free aviation and mobile energy transport. Hydroplane is an awardee of two prestigious US Air Force Agility Prime contracts and a California Energy Commission grant to develop the novel hydrogen fuel cell powerplant for a range of commercial and governmental transport use cases. Dr. Sengupta is also Professor of Astronautical engineering at the University of Southern California were she teaches and is researching and technologies for the human exploration of Mars, earth re-entry vehicles, and boom-less supersonic flight.
Dr. Sengupta received her MS and PhD in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Southern California. In her spare time, she is active in emergency service operations as a Captain and Mission Transport Pilot in the US Air Force Auxiliary Civil Air Patrol. In her free time, she is a member of the Caltech flying club and working on her commercial rating, is a sport motorcyclist, scuba diver, mountain biker, professional pubic speaker, and science communicator.