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Speakers & Plenary Sessions

Wednesday, April 21

11:00 – 1:00 pm | Opening Plenary Session

Dr. Anita Sengupta, Associate Professor Astronautical Engineering, University of Southern California; CEO/Founder, Hydroplane Ltd.

Anita Sengupta Carre

Presents: From Flying Cars to Humans on Mars - The Future of Transportation

In the global marketplace that transfers knowledge at the speed of light, we have a massive time delay that is modern transportation methods. We each spend up to 30% of our lives commuting on congested freeways, airports, and train stations. We put green-house gases into the atmosphere and change our climate with global consequences to health, habitat loss, and our economic future. On the cargo front this results in lost revenue, productivity, with no clear path to address the growing demands of the global market place. What if we could disrupt transportation, an aging and non-agile industry which has not seen a new mode in over 100 years. By introducing game changing technologies we can increase capacity, enhance energy efficiency, and shrink our carbon foot print. Dr. Sengupta will discuss how space-age tech coupled to the VC funded innovation environment are enabling the revolution in green transportation. She will share her real-world engineering projects from her work developing the world’s first hyperloop in Las Vegas Nevada, to autonomous VTOL air taxis her new company is designing in Detroit Michigan, to her research on entry systems that will land the first humans on Mars.

Dr. Anita Sengupta is an aerospace engineer, instrument rated pilot, rocket scientist, and veteran of the space program. She has developed technologies that have enabled the exploration of Mars, asteroids, and deep space for 20 years. Her career began with the launch of vehicles and communication satellites at Boeing Space and Communications. She then worked for NASA for 16 years where her engineering projects included her PhD research on developing the ion propulsion system for the Dawn Mission (currently in the main asteroid belt), the supersonic parachute that landed the Curiosity rover on Mars, and the Cold Atom Laboratory an atomic physics facility on board the International Space Station.

After leaving NASA she moved into the high-tech transportation sector and led the development of the Hyperloop as Senior Vice President of engineering systems at Virgin Hyperloop, and a co-founded ASX, an Urban Air Mobility Aviation Company.

Currently as a Professor of Astronautical engineering at the University of Southern California she is developing technologies for interplanetary exploration, supersonic flight, and sustainable transportation. Her most recent entrepreneurial venture is as founder/CEO of Hydroplane Ltd., which is developing a hydrogen fuel cell power plant for emission free aviation.

Dr. Sengupta received her MS and PhD in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Southern California. In her spare time she is active in disaster relief operations as a member of the Civil Air Patrol, is a sport motorcyclist, scuba diver, mountain biker, and science communicator.


Thursday, April 22

11:00 – 12:30 pm | Student Paper Competition Finalist Presentations

The Student Paper Competition is open to any student first author of a 2021 Earth & Space Conference contribution. Finalists for the competition are selected based on the quality of the initial manuscripts submitted and will be invited to present their work at this plenary session for a panel of judges. Final ranking will be based on both the quality of the final paper and of the presentation. The winner will be recognized at the conference Awards Banquet.



Friday, April 23

3:30 – 5:00 pm | Career Opportunities in Aerospace: Info and Mentoring

Learn how you can excel in your career and within the aerospace industry.  This event will offer students and young professionals the opportunity to meet aerospace industry representatives who are participating in the conference.

The first hour will include a moderated panel session where the industry participants will share their experiences and familiarize the audience to the emerging trends in the aerospace field.  In addition, the panel will introduce their companies and discuss the key skill sets that you will need both to get hired and to be successful in your early career in the aerospace field.

The second hour will provide an informal opportunity for you to interact with the industry participants.  Each panel participant will host a table, summarize their organization and potential opportunities available, then have follow-on discussions with the attendees. Attendees will switch every 10 minutes.  In addition, representative from the ASCE Aerospace Division Technical Committees will be available to highlight their roles and how they serve the industry at large.

This dynamic event should provide a great opportunity for you to gain insight into the latest happenings in the Aerospace field, find out how you can become involved, and maybe pick up a new mentor or two.


*All times are listed as Eastern time


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