Susmita Mohanty, shot on location in Mumbai, India, Photo: Hashim Badani
Susmita Mohanty, PhD
Voted into Financial Times’  list of “25 Indians to Watch”, Susmita Mohanty is a spaceship designer and entrepreneur extraordinaire. She seamlessly straddles the worlds of technology, business, design, architecture, and art. A cosmopolite and global nomad, she has traveled widely and has lived in India, United States and Europe. Featured in San Francisco’s Hot 20 Under 40  by the city's leading glamour magazine, Susmita has been variously called - THE MOON WALKER, JOHN GLENN(OVICH), and PRODIGY - by the Press.
A protégée of Arthur C. Clarke, the late science fiction writer and author of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Susmita is blurring the boundaries between science fiction and reality via her orbital enterprise. In 2001, Susmita launched MOONFRONT, an aerospace consulting firm based in San Francisco [USA]. In 2003, she co-founded LIQUIFER Systems Group (LSG), an aerospace architecture and design firm in Vienna [Austria]. In 2008, she launched EARTH2ORBIT (E2O), a company that provides launch vehicle procurement and launch campaign management services to satellite makers. E2O also has a Big Data & Predictive Analytics vertical that combines satellite imagery with other forms of data and leverages the latest advances in Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to provide social, business and environmental intelligence to companies and governments.
Before turning an entrepreneur, Susmita worked in business development for the International Space Station (ISS) program at Boeing in Huntington Beach, California. She also worked on Shuttle-Mir missions at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. Via her companies, Susmita consults to space projects involving aerospace companies, non-profits, the European Space Agency (ESA), NASA, and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
Susmita co-founded SSOAR [2002-07], a space non-profit in Berkeley [USA] that ran two schools [www.ssoar.org/academies/] in Oakland’s inner city. The idea was to motivate disenfranchised kids to attend school by designing an innovative curriculum that used space exploration as a means to inspire and stir them away from drugs, gangs and violence. Other endeavors that seek to inspire the young include the Clarke-Bradbury International Science Fiction [story writing] Competition [2003, 2005] sponsored by the European Space Agency [ESA] and the Space Generation Forum hosted at UNISPACE-III, United Nations .
Susmita’s love affair with human spaceflight began early. She sent her first idea to NASA when she was in high school, and has since never looked back. Brought up in Ahmedabad, home to the founder of India’s space program Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, Susmita grew up amongst the pioneers of the Indian space agency - ISRO, her dad being one of them.
Educated in India, France, and Sweden, Susmita holds multiple degrees. She has a Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering from L. D. College of Engineering (LDCE) and a Master's in Industrial Design from the National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad [India]. She also has a Master's in Space Studies from the International Space University (ISU) in Strasbourg [France]. She has a PhD in Aerospace Architecture from the Chalmers University of Technology [Sweden].
In 2005, Susmita was honored on Capitol Hill with the Women in Aerospace (WIA) International Achievement Award for promoting international cooperation through entrepreneurship. Nominated for the 2004 MIT TR100 Awards [World’s Top 100 Young Innovators], Susmita is one of the pioneers of a new genre of space architecture called Trans-Gravity that takes a multi-disciplinary approach to designing future systems. This genre subscribes to the philosophy that we cannot draw a line between Earth and Space, because we already live on a Spaceship (called Earth). Her design portfolio includes: Advanced Concepts for Habitation and Transportation Systems for Moon and Mars Exploration, Integrated Planetary Mission Simulators, Wireless Augmented Reality Prototype for Shuttle and Space Station Astronauts, Zero-G Whole Body Cleansing System, Microgravity Restraint Systems, Space Station Illumination Studies, Space Suit Design, Human Factors Analyses.
Susmita was nominated to the Global Future Council on Space Technologies of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in 2016. She has been a member of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) and got elected to the Academy, as one of its youngest members . For over a decade, she served as a member the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Aerospace Architecture Technical Committee (SATC). She chairs international conference sessions on Aerospace Architecture. She has authored many technical papers and is the co-author of the book: “Transcripts of an Architectural Journey: Musings towards a New Genre in [Space] Architecture”.
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Susmita Mohanty, PhD Designed by Studio Callum Prockter