Meet the SG[India] 2022 Speakers, Panelists, SMEs and Moderators

Inaugural Speaker

Shri S. Somanath
Shri S. SomanathChairman, ISRO & Secretary, Department of Space

Sreedhara Panicker Somanath is an aerospace engineer currently serving as the chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation. Prior to his appointment, he also served as the Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram, and Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC), Thiruvananthapuram. He is well known for his contributions to Launch Vehicle design, particularly in the areas of structural design, dynamics, and pyrotechnics. He has been associated with the development of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) project during its initial phase and was also the Project Director of the GSLV Mk-III launch vehicle program back in 2010. He is the recipient of the ‘Space Gold Medal’ from the Astronautical Society of India. He received the ‘Merit Award” and ‘Performance Excellence award’ from ISRO and a ‘Team excellence award’ for GSLV Mk-III development. He has widely traveled as a delegate and representative of India in UN-COPOUS at Vienna, International Astronautical Federation (IAF)’s International Program Committee in Paris, International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Hyderabad, Prague, Jerusalem, Mexico, and Adelaide. We hope that India makes significant progress in the space sector under his leadership.

Keynote Speakers

Shri. Sudheer Kumar
Shri. Sudheer KumarKeynote Speaker 1: Space for All

Pursued graduation in Mechanical Engineering and post-graduation in Industrial Engineering. He worked at Tata Steel, Mc Kinsey and Booz Allen & Hamilton before joining ISRO in 2000 and assumed key roles in developing Enterprise Software Solution for ISRO. He was a Core Team Member for realizing Asia’s Largest Solid Rocket Propellant Plant at Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota, State Of Art Mission Control Center, Assembly & Integration Facilities for GSLV Mk III Project. Presently he is working as Director, Capacity Building Programme Office at the, ISRO HQ and is responsible for capacity building in the areas of Research and Academia Interface, Startup Incubation, Industrialisation, Indigenisation, Technology Transfer, Intellectual Property Rights, Technical Infrastructure and Outreach activities of ISRO.

Dr. Siddharth Pandey
Dr. Siddharth PandeyKeynote Speaker 2: Astrobiology and India

Dr. Siddharth Pandey is the Head of the Centre of Excellence in Astrobiology at Amity University India. As a part of this, he is leading an initiative to establish India’s first dedicated Centre for Astrobiology and Space Biology research in the country. Siddharth is a space engineer with project management and leadership experience working with teams of astrobiologists. Prior to this, he has experience in building sample collection instruments for Mars and Venus surface missions while working at NASA Ames, USA. He has been engaged in education and public outreach activities and is motivated to use Space as a tool to spread awareness, social consciousness, and inclusiveness within our communities. He holds a PhD degree in Aerospace Engineering from UNSW Canberra, Australia; MS in Space Systems Engineering from TU Delft, Netherlands, and BTech in Aerospace Engineering from Amity University, India.


Panel 1: The Road to India’s Newspace Policy and Ecosystem

Dr. Aditya Baraskar
Dr. Aditya Baraskar

Dr. Aditya Baraskar is a Chief Scientist and Mission Designer for the world’s first Laser-based Debris removal project at SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation Japan. Director and Co-founder of Entropy Research and Development Pvt ltd India. With a postdoctoral experience at Kyushu University Japan, on a debris evolution model to track small debris in the near-Earth environment using the Tomo-e-Gozen system (an AI integrated optical telescope). He completed Dr. Eng. from Kyushu University Japan on Energy Orbit – a small Space Solar Power Satellite constellation in Earth Orbit to transmit and rent wireless power to nearby satellites and space objects using lasers. Having interest in space policy and law, he completed a postgraduate diploma in GIS and Space Law from NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad. He pursued a Master of Space System and Rocket Engineering from Moscow Aviation Institute Russia in collaboration with NPO Lavochkin, a Russian aerospace company (ROSCOSMOS). A Bachelor of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering from North Maharashtra University Jalgaon India. He started multiple startups and invested in developing futuristic technology.  He is the inventor and principal investigator for the Energy orbit for laser power transmission system in space; the project is awarded by S-Booster 2021.

Dr. Narayan Prasad
Dr. Narayan Prasad

Dr. Narayan Prasad serves as the Chief Operations Officer at satsearch, the world’s largest marketplace for the space industry that streamlines procurement for team building space missions and suppliers. Narayan holds a PhD in Supply Chain Management and is educated in India, Germany, Sweden and France. He has authored over 100 publications in various national and international outlets. He is also an elected member of the International Institute of Space Law.

Narayan is also a co-founder of Spaceport SARABHAI, India’s first dedicated think tank to catalyze the fledgling Indian space economy and give India an international voice where he serves as Director for Research and Operations. Narayan Prasad is the host of the NewSpace India podcast (available on all podcast platforms, a bi-weekly talk show that exclusively focuses on India’s space activities.

Raghav Sharma
Raghav Sharma

Raghav Sharma is a Chemical engineering graduate from National Institute of Technology, Jalandhar. After gaining work experience in Escorts Ltd (at Escorts Auto Products), he founded the aerospace venture named Xovian with the vision to provide sustainable solutions in satellite manufacturing and services. The strength of this venture lies with the team having decades of experience in satellite technology. Not only this, they successfully test-fired amateur rocket which caught the nationwide attention through DDNEWS, AAJTAK, NDTV, ABP, SAHARA SAMAY etc. Xovian has successfully brought up the CANSAT revolution across the nation as an effective STEM education module for Tire 2&3 cities as well as rural and tribal India. The Company has signed an MOU with PES University, Bangalore for joint initiative in satellite development and payload for Draught and Glacier monitoring, and Biomass quantification. The technology spinning out can further be utilized in environment monitoring which is the need of the nation. 

Xovian’s efforts have already been appreciated by ISRO, Invest India and Sir Ratan Tata. and have recently been awarded by the Department of Science and Technology under NIDHI Prayas for the same.

Satyam Kushwaha
Satyam Kushwaha

Wing Commander Satyam Kushwaha is a Strategist, Entrepreneur and a Geospatial Evangelist with more than 24 yrs of experience specialized in Military Aviation; Policy Planning; Strategy and Programme Design; and Geo-Intelligence analysis for both Defense and Infrastructure. He has strong capabilities in conceptualizing national level programmes; policy planning; organizational refinements; multilateral coordination; steering design, development and trials of multi-agency technology platforms at various levels. He looks forward to leveraging his professional expertise to strengthen the organization; enhance ground infrastructure and services planning; and create capabilities which help facilitate single window access to smooth administration, management and ease of business. He has also acquired firsthand experience in running startups and developing world class products with limited resources. Additionally, he also has good experience in conducting complex negotiations on policy and technology issues to bring multilateral convergence and synergy. He currently holds the position of Director at the Indian Space Association (ISpA) and representing Dhruva Space at SG[India].

Panel 2: Benefits and Impacts of Space Exploration on the Indian Society

Dr. Priyanka Das
Dr. Priyanka Das

Dr. Priyanka Das Rajkakati is Aerospace engineer-cum-artist, whose work involves mixing science, art and space. From being an artist of the Moon Gallery (which recently sent her artwork in space to the ISS), co-founding The Exploration Company, to participating in a lunar analog astronaut simulation, she has a particular fascination with lunar exploration.

With Assamese origins, she grew up in Delhi, obtaining a bachelor in Physics from St. Stephen’s College. She then moved to France at age 21 to explore new horizons, and while studying at Ecole-Polytechnique and ISAE-Supaéro, and then obtaining a Ph.D. in satellite navigation from Safran, she found equal if not more satisfaction from her art projects and #S.T.E.A.M. outreach.

Her work draws inspiration from her roots and her travels, from Brazil to Mauna Loa volcano in Hawai’i and next: Antarctica. As an artist-scientist in the space industry, she has won numerous awards, including a feature in the Forbes India 30 under 30 list, and is a Karman Fellow.

More information on her website: www.PriyankaRajkakati.Space

Dr. Priyabrata Das
Dr. Priyabrata Das

Dr. Priyabrata Das is a planetary geoscientist, currently serving as an Astrobiologist Research Investigator at Spaceonova Pvt. Ltd. His research work has involved understanding the early geologic evolution, surface processes and habitability of Earth and Mars using field geological, geochemical and planetary mission instrument techniques. He completed his master’s in Geology from Presidency College, Kolkata and received a doctoral degree in Precambrian Geology from Hiroshima University, Japan. Thereafter, continuing his research work at various Indian institutes including Jadavpur University, Kolkata, Physical Research laboratory (ISRO), Ahmedabad and, Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE), Manipal. Besides academics, he has worked in the mining & mineral industry and has consulting experience in the civil engineering & geotechnical sectors. He is happy to talk about the upcoming applications of space science & technology in geoscientific industries, the research and education sector, science communication, and more.

Devleena Bhattacharjee
Devleena Bhattacharjee

Devleena Bhattacharjee is a data scientist with 15+ years of experience in using data to solve real-world business problems across different domains. Her first data science startup Woocation was a risk intelligence platform for the insurance industry.

Her second data science startup Numer8 is currently using satellite data along with other sensor data to build profitable, traceable and sustainable fisheries. Numer8’s product Ofish got selected by the European Space Agency and the UN World Food Programme for addressing SDGs 2, 12 and 14.

Devleena solo founded Numer8 in 2017 and now works with a team of 16 data scientists, data architects and GIS analysts. Nandhini Karthikeyan, joined as the CTO and Co-founder in 2019.

Devleena speaks actively about using the power of data science in solving global issues like climate change and food security and democratizing the access of data for such projects.

Uma Shangery
Uma Shangery

Uma Shangery is an Aerospace engineer from Malaysia, currently working as a Revenue Management Specialist with an International Airlines in Malaysia, Uma has completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering and Masters in Aviation Management.

She is undertaking her Professional Certification for her experience in  Space Debris Removal using CubeSats projects. She has been a part of the KiboCube Academy through the initiatives of UNOOSA with JAXA.

She explored her interest in Science Communication via a competition that she has participated in and continued ever since then. She conducts workshops and sessions for Science outreach and to inspire people around the globe to contribute to the Space Industry.

Panel Session Moderators

Niket Bhatt
Niket BhattPanel 1: The Road to India's Newspace Policy & Ecosystem

Niket Bhatt is an Aerospace Entrepreneur and Event Manager of SG-India. He has extensive experience working in space grade communication systems and manufacturing of cutting edge communication systems. He has worked on Antenna measurements facilities of ISRO for 3 years and was part of many important Antenna measurements & testing team.

He firmly believes that India should have very active role in Space field and global policies related to it. He is working to make Indian Defence and Space startup ecosystem powerful.

Shreya Santra
Shreya SantraPanel 2: Benefits and Impacts of Space Exploration on the Indian Society

Dr. Shreya Santra is currently an Assistant Professor in Space Robotics at Tohoku University, Japan. She pursued her Ph.D. at the Space Robotics Lab (SRL) in Tohoku University as a Japanese government MEXT scholar. Her Ph.D. thesis was focused on Swarm coordination for planetary surface exploration in collaboration with DLR Institute of Communications and Navigation, Germany. She holds BTech in Electrical Electronics Engineering from India and M.Sc in Space and Engineering Systems from France and Russia. She works on various projects related to the optimization of space missions and has vast experience working with international teams to develop and design space systems. She is an active member of SGAC and has been recognized for her contribution towards space outreach and SGAC activities around the globe. She is the Co-founder and Director of Space Technology at Spaceonova (a space education and research company in India) and Director of Outreach for Spaceport SARABHAI (India’s first space policy thinktank).

Subject Matter Experts

Dr. Tirtha Pratim Das
Dr. Tirtha Pratim DasWG1: Global Partnership in Space Exploration & Innovation

Dr. Tirtha Pratim Das is the Director of the Science Programme Office, ISRO Headquarters, Bangalore, India. He started his career in ISRO as a rocket technologist in Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), ISRO. Subsequently, he contributed to the scientific exploration of the Moon and Mars in Chandrayaan-1, 2 and Mangalyaan Missions. Currently he is responsible for the space science exploration programme of ISRO. Professionally, Dr. Das has experiences in launch vehicle technology with a systems-science approach; he has been an experimentalist with specialization in space-borne mass spectrometry for planetary science missions; a planetary scientist by training, as well as a science-administrator. Dr. Das has also contributed to the initiation of several disruptive, futuristic, and innovative space technologies for the space sector.

Dr. Sarita Dara
Dr. Sarita DaraWG2: Strengthened Space Cooperation in Global Health

Dr Sarita Dara is an Aerospace Medicine physician. Her training, qualifications and experience span Aviation and Space Medicine, Occupational Medicine, Public Health and Human Factors Engineering. She has worked as a physician, educator and researcher in India, USA, Singapore and New Zealand for over two decades. She currently works as Senior Medical Officer, Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand and as a Space Medicine and Human Factors Consultant and Occupational Medicine Physician with Humane Factors Exponential Limited. sectors. She is a certified trainer for human centrifuge and other simulators. She has been involved with Aerospace Education and Outreach activities in Singapore and conducted several aerospace medicine programs aimed at school children and youth and was the World Space Week National Coordinator Singapore for a few years. In 2021, she was selected to participate in the European Astronaut Centre Space Physician Training Course, ESA. She is an Academician, International Academy of Aviation and Space Medicine & Associate Fellow and Life Member of Aerospace Medical Association (USA).

Senjuti Mallick
Senjuti MallickWG3: Global space governance: Current & Future Perspectives

Senjuti Mallick works as the Regulatory Compliance and Strategic Partnerships Specialist at COMSPOC Corp., USA. Prior to this, she has worked as an Expert for the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Emerging Tech Division and also taught international law for the Oxbridge summer program at Harvard Law School. She completed her Master’s in International Law from The Fletcher School, Tufts University, USA specializing in international law and technology policy, with a particular focus in space law, laws of the sea and cyber security. Her thesis on space sustainability was selected for presentation at the 70th International Astronautical Congress, 2019. She is also a TEDx 2022 speaker and enjoys dedicating her time towards Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) and International Institute of Space Law (IISL) activities. You may find her dancing, trekking to places that tell stories or sky-watching while channeling her inner scribbler. Senjuti is a trained lawyer from India where she practiced law and worked as a Judicial Law Clerk at the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi. She is a graduate of ILS Law College, Pune.

Pauline Delande
Pauline DelandeWG4: Diversity & Equality in the Space Industry: Challenges & Possible Solutions

Pauline Delande graduated from INSA Toulouse (Mechanical Engineering) and ISAE-Supaero (Space Systems Engineering). She is now working at CNES in Toulouse as Earth Observation Satellite Operations Engineer. Previously, she has been part of the SEEDS 6-month student european program to design facilities to produce propellant by exploiting lunar in-situ resources and during a 6-month internship at CNES, she has been working on an Zero-G experience to test the deployment of CubeSats during a parabolic flight campaign.

Within the Space Generation Advisory Council, Pauline is the National Point of Contact for France and the Diversity and Gender Equality (Our Giant Leap) Project Group Co-Lead.

Dr. Sanat Biswas
Dr. Sanat BiswasWG5: International Cooperation to Mitigate the Threat of Space Debris

Dr. Sanat K. Biswas is an Assistant Professor with IIIT Delhi. His research interests are space vehicle navigation, GNSS applications, nonlinear estimation, and Precise Orbit Determination. He received his B.E. degree from Jadavpur University and M.Tech. degree in Aerospace Engineering from IIT Bombay. His Ph.D. degree in computationally Efficient Unscented Kalman filters for space vehicle navigation from the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney, in 2017. 

At IIIT Delhi he established the Space Systems Laboratory and is leading research groups involved in developing algorithms for Space Situational Awareness, NavIC reflectometry receiver for remote sensing applications and Precise Point Positioning (PPP) of Low Earth Orbit Satellites. Dr. Biswas was the recipient of the 2014 Emerging Space Leaders Grant from the International Astronautical Federation, the 2019 Early Career Research Award from the Department of Science and Technology, India and the Young Scientist Award 2020 and 2021, from the International Union of Radio Science (URSI).

Siddhesh Naik
Siddhesh NaikWG6: Space4SDGs: Space Technology for Tackling Climate Change

Siddhesh Naik holds a Master’s Degree in AeroSpace Engineering Sciences from University of Colorado Boulder and specializes in Astrodynamics & Satellite Navigation. He has worked on the  NASA Heliophysics funded MinXSS CubeSat in different capacities at the Laboratory of Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP). As a graduate researcher in Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research (CCAR) at CU-Boulder he worked on novel applications of GNSS-Reflectometry funded by NSF and NASA and has presented his research work at AGU and SmallSat UTAH. 

Prior to joining NewSpaceRnT, Siddhesh worked as Systems Engineer at Team Indus where he performed techno-commercial trade studies of Satellite Constellations for Military and Commercial use-cases.

At NewSpaceRnT, Siddhesh heads the AeroSpace Systems – Business Unit which is responsible for the projects like High Altitude Pseudo Satellites (HAPS) Tube-Launched UVAS – CATS -ALFA, SLAVe, Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAVs) and Vertical Takeoff And Landing Airplanes (VTOLs)

Working Group Moderators

Daamini Visaalaakshi
Daamini VisaalaakshiWG1: Global Partnership in Space Exploration & Innovation

Daamini is passionate about innovation and problem solving. She holds several invention disclosures, trade secrets, meritorious inventions, filed patents,white papers to her credit.She led a team that was the finalist of United Nations AI Design Challenge2030. She has also won multiple innovation challenges like the innovation challenge for aviation sustainability,Swayam Hackathon 2021, CST-100 Starliner FOD Hackathon organized by NASA and Boeing. She is now on a mission to create awareness on innovation tools, Ideation techniques for school and college students. She is also an advocate for causes promoting women in STEM. Girls lose interest in STEM early, mainly because of a lack of representation. Equal representation will make young girls believe that they can become anything they dream to be.

Daamini is eager to collaborate in opportunities pertaining to aviation, innovation, Space Exploration,NewSpace, Space and technology and. Daamini aspires to be an innovator who builds the next generation space technologies to benefit life on earth in the long run. She is an active member of Society of Women Engineers, SAE-Aero, Women of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Space Generation Advisory Council.

Atrayee Basu
Atrayee BasuWG2: Strengthened Space Cooperation in Global Health

Atrayee’s full time job entails certain responsibilities as Space Scientist, Physicist, and an Impact Entrepreneur. She founded Stellarion in September 2020 to contribute to the net zero carbon movement with a solution from space. Investing her skills, energy and time to the future of space settlement throughout my life’s journey is Atrayee’s primary ethical call. She is a volunteer of Space Renaissance, a SGAC mentor and also works with Moon Village Association in their Lunar Payload Project and a handful of other yet-to-be launched projects.

Aleena Kalayil
Aleena KalayilWG3: Global Space Governance: Current & Future Perspectives

Aleena Joseph is the Co-Founder and Head of External Relations at Asia Pacific Oceania Space Association – APOSA, a sustainable space community development initiative. She pursued her master’s in Geopolitics and International Relations from the Manipal Academy of Higher Education, India, after completing her bachelor’s in Physics. She is an aspiring policy analyst focusing on various international relations topics which includes space policy, law, space governance, and space security.

Sarah Cader
Sarah CaderWG4: Diversity and Equality in the Space Industry: Challenges & Possible Solutions

Sarah Cader is a master’s graduate in Astronomy from Osmania University, India. She completed her bachelor’s degree in Physics from Madras University, where she undertook the roles of NSS secretary and the college magazine editor. She is currently the Director of Operations at WoAA (Women of Aeronautics and Astronautics) India. She also served as the Events Director for the Indian Women in Space Conference (IWSC) 2022 and organized the 2-day conference. In 2021, she got selected and attended the ARIES training school in observational astronomy. She has been a delegate at the Space Generation Congress (SGC) 2021 and the Space Generation Fusion Forum (SGFF) 2022.

She is an advocate for student mental health, with her recent research focussing on the mental well-being of students and their corresponding concerns, in the space sector. She believes that the mental health of students is a crucial thing for the prosperity of space research and industry. She presented this research paper at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) 2021.

Mahima Soota
Mahima SootaWG5: International Cooperation to Mitigate the Threat of Space Debris

Mahima Soota is a final semester student enrolled in a dual degree course of Bachelors in Aerospace and Master in Avionics. With a year of experience as an ADCS Intern for a Space Debris, she has worked on different aspects for an Active Debris Removal Satellite mission from scratch. She worked on projects and mission designs for Martian surface including a rover, quadcopter and an ascent launch vehicle alongside an asteroid rendezvous mission. Recently she has started her career as a Space Software Engineer for an emerging startup that works towards reusable satellite hence bringing down a possible piece of debris back to Earth.

Khushi Shah
Khushi ShahWG6: Space4SDGs: Space Technology for Tackling Climate Change

Khushi Shah is a senior year Mechanical engineering Undergraduate student based in Mumbai, India. She has participated in numerous National and International Aero design competitions with her University team. She has worked on several projects related to aerospace structures, mission design, and spacecraft propulsion. At SGAC, she is a member of the ACHIEVED Mission Design Team under the Space Exploration Project Group; Communications & Outreach Team at the Diversity & Gender Equality Project Group, and Communications Team member in the SG[INDIA] Organising Team. She has also been involved with the Women of Aeronautics and Astronautics India and Space to Reflect, an outreach initiative for creating a diverse and inclusive community for underrepresented minorities in the space sector. She uses graphic design and illustration as a medium to express her passion for space exploration.