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Odisha’s Susmita Mohanty In BBC’s 100 Influential Women List

19 October 2019


Bhubaneswar: Susmita Mohanty, a spaceship designer hailing from Odisha has made the State as well as the country proud.

Mohanty hailed as 'India's spacewoman', has featured in BBC's list of 100 inspiring and influential women from around the world for 2019 released on Wednesday.

She is one of the six Indian women who got featured in the prestigious annual list of BBC's 100 most influential women from different walks of life who are putting their effort to make a change. 

The BBC has described Mohanty as a passionate climate action advocate, she uses her business to help monitor and understand climate change from space.

Mohanty is a space entrepreneur who started India's first space start-up. She founded her start-up, Earth2Orbit, in 2008 and has been working toward using space as a resource for monitoring climate change.

Mohanty is the daughter of a former ISRO scientist, Nilamani Mohanty started her career at an early age. Born in Cuttack she is the only entrepreneur in the world to have started space companies in three different countries.

She has worked at Boeing and NASA and has consulted with European Space Agency (ESA) and even ISRO, among other space organisations.

Mohanty, with NASA on Shuttle-Mir missions, being 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.

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.

Mohanty 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.

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”.

Educated in India, France, and Sweden, Mohanty 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. 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.

Mohanty was appointed as Chairperson of the 'Mo School' programme by Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in 2017.