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Indian-American engineer Amit Kshatriya to lead NASA’s new Moon to Mars programme

Amit Kshatriya

Amit Kshatriya, an Indian-American software and robotics engineer, has been appointed as the head of NASA’s recently established Moon to Mars Programme. The program’s primary objective is to facilitate a sustainable lunar presence, which will serve as a foundation for humanity’s next significant step: reaching the Red Planet.

Kshatriya will lead the new office, overseeing NASA’s human exploration activities on both the Moon and Mars to benefit humankind. “The golden age of exploration is happening right now, and this new office will help ensure that NASA successfully establishes a long-term lunar presence needed to prepare for humanity’s next giant leap to the Red Planet,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.

The Moon to Mars Programme Office, part of the Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate, reports to Associate Administrator Jim Free. As stipulated by the 2022 NASA Authorisation Act, the office will concentrate on hardware development, mission integration, and risk management for critical programs that employ Artemis missions at the Moon. This approach will usher in a new era of scientific discovery and pave the way for human missions to Mars.

Kshatriya’s role will involve program planning and implementation for human missions to the Moon and Mars. He has previously directed and provided leadership for the Space Launch System, Orion, and Exploration Ground Systems programs, as well as associated Artemis Campaign Development Division initiatives connecting NASA’s Moon to Mars goals.

Before his current appointment, Kshatriya served as the acting deputy associate administrator for the Common Exploration Systems Development Division. He began his career in the space program in 2003, working as a software engineer, robotics engineer, and spacecraft operator, primarily focusing on the robotic assembly of the International Space Station (ISS).

Born in Brookfield, Wisconsin, to first-generation Indian immigrants, Amit Kshatriya considers Katy, Texas, his hometown. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from the California Institute of Technology and a Master of Arts in Mathematics from The University of Texas at Austin.

Kshatriya’s exceptional contributions to space exploration have earned him several accolades, including the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal as the lead flight director for the 50th expedition to the ISS. He also received the Silver Snoopy—an award given by astronauts for exceptional performance contributing to flight safety—for his role as the lead robotics officer for the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services Dragon demonstration mission to the orbiting laboratory.

With Amit Kshatriya at the helm, NASA’s new Moon to Mars Programme Office is poised to embark on groundbreaking missions to the Moon and, ultimately, land the first humans on Mars.

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