Amit Kshatriya, an accomplished Indian-American software and robotics engineer, will assist the agency in ensuring a long-term lunar presence necessary to get ready for humanity’s next great leap to the Red Planet. Amit has been appointed as the first director of NASA’s newly established Moon to Mars Programme.
According to a statement released by NASA on Thursday, Kshatriya will take over as the organization’s first head of office immediately.
According to a NASA press release, the new office seeks to carry out the organization’s human exploration efforts on the Moon and Mars in the interests of humanity.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said, “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.”
“The Moon to Mars Programme Office will help prepare NASA to carry out our bold missions to the Moon and land the first humans on Mars,” added Nelson.
The Moon to Mars Programme Office focuses on hardware development, mission integration, and risk management tasks for programmes critical to the agency’s exploration approach. It will use Artemis missions on the Moon to usher in a new era of scientific discovery and get ready for manned missions to Mars, as instructed by the 2022 NASA Authorisation Act, according to a press release.
This covers the Space Launch System rocket, the Orion spacecraft, auxiliary ground systems, spacesuits, and other deep space exploration-related equipment.
According to the statement, the new entity will also oversee long-term planning and analysis to support human expeditions to Mars. Kshatriya’s new position entails designing and carrying out the programme for manned expeditions to the Moon and Mars.
According to the statement, Amit Kshatriya oversaw the Space Launch System, Orion, and Exploration Ground Systems programmes as well as related Artemis Campaign Development Division initiatives connecting the agency’s Moon to Mars objectives. Kshatriya also provided leadership and integration for these programmes.
Kshatriya has previously held the position of Common Exploration Systems Development Division acting deputy associate administrator.
As a software engineer, robotics engineer, and spacecraft operator, Kshatriya started his career in the space programme in 2003. He mostly worked on the robotic assembly of the International Space Station.
He worked as a space station flight director from 2014 to 2017, leading international teams in the management and execution of the space station across all phases of flight.
He was offered a position at NASA Headquarters in 2021 as an assistant deputy associate administrator in the Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate, where he played a crucial role in the team that brought back a spacecraft intended to take people to the Moon during the Artemis I mission.
Amit Kshatriya, a second-generation immigrant from India to the US, has a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, as well as a Master of Arts in Mathematics from The University of Texas at Austin.
Although Kshatriya was born in Brookfield, Wisconsin, he now calls Katy, Texas, home.
He received the Silver Snoopy, an honour given by astronauts for exceptional performance enhancing flight safety, for his actions as the lead robotics officer for the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services Dragon demonstration mission to the orbiting laboratory.
He has also been conferred the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal for his actions as the lead flight director for the 50th expedition to the space station, according to the press release.