I am a Scientist-Astronaut Candidate (Commercial Space Projects), a Software and Aerospace Engineer, have been working for NASA, a pilot, a scuba-diver, NASA Speaker, NASA Girls Mentor, BoyScout’s Assistant Scout Master, STEM advocate, NASA Astronaut Aspirant, Artist, Singer, Dancer, Performer, Model, all this and more.
I have a MS Aerospace Engineering (San Jose State University), MS Computer Applications & BS Physics (North Maharashtra University). I completed my schooling at St. Josephs Convent Highschool, Jalgaon, India.
An astronaut aspirant, I am working towards this childhood dream and making the best of the opportunities I am getting this late in life. I am passionate about Human Space Exploration, Long Duration SpaceFlights & Human Factors involved in SpaceFlight.
Prior to the current role, I worked on the Kepler Mission in the Science Operations Center as a Senior Principal Software Engineer; it was great fun being a small contributor to a team that found planets in our galaxy!
I got to be the Commander for HERA VII, a 14 day sim at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in June 2015. HERA VII was a 715 day mission condensed into a 14 day simulation to asteroid GeoGraphos. As an analog astronaut, I participated in psychological, medical and cognitive studies. I performed systems maintenance of our ‘spacecraft’ habitat, worked on science experiments and all things astronauts would work on, on such a long duration mission.
In Spring 2016, I got selected and I trained as a Scientist-Astronaut Candidate for Project PoSSUM – Polar Suborbital Science in the Upper Mesosphere; a project supported by NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program. You can read more about it here.
I am a Citizen-Scientist Astronaut Candidate for Project PHEnOM – Physiological, Health, and Environmental Observations in Microgravity; one of the world’s first commercial human spaceflight research programs, training and utilizing citizen scientist-astronauts and mission support specialists to carry out its mission objectives.
I am also a First Tier Support Engineer for another sim called the Hi-SEAS, which is a Mars Analog Mission on the isolated region of Mauna Loa side of Big Island of Hawaii.
I have participated in a Simulated Fluid Loading Study at NASA, am a member of the NASA Ames Speakers Bureau. Here’s a link on our Kepler website about some of my talks: http://kepler.nasa.gov/news/keplerinthenews/index.cfm?FuseAction=ShowNews&NewsID=346
I am a PADI Certified Open Water Scuba Diver, a student pilot, a NASA Girls Mentor, Boy Scouts of America – Assistant Scout Master for boyscouts and a Den Leader for cubscouts, plus a First Lego Robotics League Coach.
I am an artist: Dancer, Singer, I love sketching & painting, I make impromptu Poetry, and excellent Rangolis. I love sharing our culture so I have been setting up & hosting cultural booth representing India at NASA’s Diversity & Inclusion Event since 2012. I choreograph, teach and participate in group dances in cultural events at work and in our community. I do the same for our youngsters as well. I would never give up my astronaut aspirations for anything else but since I am often asked, if not an astronaut or an engineer, I would be an actor as I love performing.
While I pursue my childhood dream, I plan on pursuing research in, and contributing towards, space exploration. Sharing my experiences and knowledge with the younger generation is a passion. I love providing them the guidance that I missed out on growing up. Thank you for visiting my website and following my journey!