As seven Indian women got featured in the prestigious annual list of BBC's 100 most influential women, it becomes a matter of pride that women from different walks of life are putting their effort to make a change.
One among them is Susmita Mohanty AKA the 'space woman'. She is a space entrepreneur who started India's first space start-up. Mohanty started her career at an early age, is the daughter of a former ISRO scientist, Nilamani Mohanty.
She had received her training in prestigious institutions such as India’s National Institute of Design, France’s International Space University (ISU), went on to acquire a PhD in aerospace architecture from Sweden.
She has worked at Boeing and NASA and has consulted with European Space Agency (ESA) and even ISRO, among other space organisations. She founded her start-up, Earth2Orbit, in 2008 and has been working toward using space as a resource for monitoring climate change.
Mohanty, with NASA on Shuttle-Mir missions, Boing on the International Space Station (ISS) programme, collaborated with government and non-government space entities in Europe, the US and Japan, helped pioneer a new genre of space architecture called Trans-Gravity and launched three companies—MoonFront (2001), an aerospace consulting firm in San Francisco, Liquefier Systems Group (2003), an aerospace architecture and design firm in Vienna, and Earth2Orbit (2008), India’s first private space start-up in Bengaluru.
Her start-up Earth2Orbit focused on facilitating American and Japanese launches on the PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) rocket from 2008-2016, and since 2017, has been supporting global climate action by using earth observation data analytics to make cities and agriculture climate-smart.
Interestingly, Susmita is a member of the International Academy of Astronautics and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. In 2005, she was honoured on Capitol Hill with the International Achievement Award for promoting international cooperation through her orbital enterprise.
Educated in India, France, and Sweden, Susmita holds multiple degrees. She has a Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering from Gujarat University and a Master's in Industrial Design from the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad [India].
She has a Master's in Space Studies from the International Space University in Strasbourg [France] and a PhD in Aerospace Architecture from the Chalmers University of Technology [Sweden].
She is the only space entrepreneur in the world to have started companies on 3 different continents. In 2017, she was featured on the cover of Fortune Magazine. In 2012, she was voted into Financial Times’ list of “25 Indians to Watch”. She is a fierce advocate of climate change and she uses her ideas and business to monitor and analyse the climate change from space.