Meet Amit Kshatriya, the Indian-American scientist heading NASA's Moon-to-Mars program
NASA has set up a new and vital Moon to Mars Program Office at its headquarters in Washington. Amit Kshatriya—an Indian-American scientist—has been appointed as the first head of the office. Kshatriya's scope of responsibilities includes planning and organizing crewed missions to the Moon and Mars. He has been a part of an important team associated with Artemis 1 mission. Here's more about Kshatriya.
What is the undertaking of the Moon to Mars office?
The new Moon to Mars Program Office will oversee developments related to supporting crewed missions to the Moon and Mars. It will supervise "hardware development, mission integration, and risk management functions" for NASA. The team will work on the Space Launch System rocket, Orion, human landing systems, supporting ground systems, spacesuits, and Gateway—a lunar space station that NASA aims to build in the future.
Kshatriya's responsibilities include planning crewed missions to Moon and Mars
In the role of deputy associate administrator of the Moon to Mars Program Office, Kshatriya will be responsible for "program planning and implementation for human missions to the Moon and Mars." He will lead the planning, and development, to ensure that the operations of the Artemis and Moon expeditions are in alignment with NASA's ESDMD (Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate) requirements.
Kshatriya was part of an integral team on Artemis 1
Before the current role, Kshatriya worked at NASA's Common Exploration Systems Development Division as the acting deputy associate administrator. In this role, Kshatriya led developments related to the Space Launch System rocket, Orion spacecraft, and Exploration Ground Systems programs. He was part of the team that brought back the Orion spacecraft, which is designed to carry humans to the Moon during the Artemis missions.
Kshatriya is a software and robotics engineer
Kshatriya started his career in 2003 as a software and robotics engineer, and spacecraft operator involved with the robotic assembly of the International Space Station (ISS). Between 2014 to 2017, he held the position of space station flight director. He headed the teams responsible for the operations and execution of the orbiting space station during all phases of flight.
He worked at the ISS Vehicle Office between 2017-2021
Between 2017 to 2021, he went from being the deputy to the acting manager at the ISS Vehicle Office, where he supervised logistics and hardware program management. In 2021, Kshatriya became the assistant deputy associate administrator at Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate.
He was born to first-generation Indian immigrants to the US
Kshatriya completed Master of Arts in Mathematics from The University of Texas, Austin, and has a degree in Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. He was born in Brookfield, Wisconsin, into a family of first-generation Indian immigrants to the US. He considers Katy, Texas, as his hometown. He is married and has three children.
He has received the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal
Kshatriya is the recipient of the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal for his contribution as the lead flight director for the 50th expedition to the ISS. He has also received the Silver Snoopy award, which astronauts present for outstanding performance in contributing to flight safety.