Maharashtra-born Sanjal Gavande behind Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space rocket
Sanjal Gavande, a 30-year-old woman from Maharashtras Kalyan, is part of the engineering team who built Blue Origin’s New Shephard suborbital space rocket, which will launch billionaire Jeff Bezos and three other people later this month.
Sanjal Gavande is a systems engineer with the commercial space company and studied mechanical engineering at the University of Mumbai. In 2011 she went to the United States to do her Masters in Mechanical Engineering at Michigan Technological University. “I am very happy that my childhood dream is coming true. I am proud to be part of Team Blue Origin, “Gavande told the Times of India.
Sanjal Gavande, the daughter of an employee of a municipal company and a retired MTNL official, chose aerospace as a major in her Masters and graduated with a first class.
“She always wanted to build a spaceship, so she chose aerospace as a major while studying for her Masters at Michigan Technological University,” her father Ashok Gavande, who lives in Kalyan’s Kolsewadi area, told India Today.
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After completing her Masters in Wisconsin, Sanjal Gavande worked for Mercury Marine, the marine engine division of Brunswick Corporation. After spending three years at Mercury Marine, first as an intern in design analysis and then as a design analysis engineer, she moved to Toyota Racing Development as a mechanical design engineer.
Sanjal Gavande, who holds a commercial pilot’s license, applied to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for a position as a space engineer but was not selected for citizenship issues.
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“People told us she was a girl, so why did she choose mechanical engineering? I also sometimes wondered if she would work that hard. It has made us all proud now. She had a dream about space rocket design and she achieved it, ”Surekha, her mother, told India Today.
“We only supported her and she did everything on her own,” said her father.
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Since April of this year she has been working as a systems engineer at Blue Origin in Seattle. She was also a part-time chairman of public relations and chairman of the board of The Ninety-Nines, a nonprofit educational organization.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos will join his brother Mark, 82-year-old pioneering aviator Wally Funk and a Dutch teenager from West Texas on a New Shepard rocket for a 10-minute flight. According to Reuters, New Shepard is a 60-foot-high and fully autonomous missile-capsule combination that cannot be controlled from the spaceship. Bezos will be the second person in nine days to fly his own rocket into space after Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson.