Anita Sengupta is an aerospace engineer. She is a graduate in aerospace and mechanical engineering (MS ’00, Ph.D. ’05) of the Viterbi School of Engineering at the University of Southern California. She was the lead systems engineer of the team that developed the revolutionary supersonic parachute system that was deployed during the landing of Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity. She was subsequently the project manager of the Cold Atom Laboratory at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Caltech. She is currently the Senior Vice President of Systems Engineering at Virgin Hyperloop One.
Cold Atom Laboratory
Anita Sengupta was the CAL Project Manager. CAL is a facility for the study of ultra-cold quantum gases in the microgravity environment of the International Space Station (ISS). It will enable research in a temperature regime and force free environment that is inaccessible to terrestrial laboratories. In the microgravity environment, up to 20 second long interaction times and as low as 1 picokelvin temperatures are achievable, unlocking the potential to observe new quantum phenomena.
CAL was scheduled to launch in 2016 on a Pressurized Cargo Vehicle in soft-stowage. After docking with ISS the CAL payload was to be installed by astronauts into an EXPRESS (EXpedite the PRocessing of Experiments to Space Station) Rack inside the space station. The EXPRESS Rack provides a standardized power, data, thermal, and mechanical interface to scientific payloads. CAL was to occupy a quad locker space due to its size and power requirements. Following installation the payload will be operated remotely via sequence control from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The initial mission was planned to have a duration of 12 months with up to five years of extended operation.
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