“The future of flight – electric aviation, supersonic, suborbital”
Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a new type of airplane!
Dr. Anita Sengupta, Ph.D., Founder/CEO, Hydroplane, Associate Professor, USC Viterbi School of Engineering
New ways of flying are in the air. Advances in energy storage technologies, novel materials, fuels, and avionics, as well as the push for de-carbonization of transportation and the new commercial realities of aviation derived from COVID-19 leading to the re-alignment of general aviation, are opening the door to improved, and sometimes completely new types of aircraft.
These new developments are enabling new options for air travel. Vertical take-off and landing electric aircraft (eVTOL), that would make urban air mobility a reality – think of flying over the traffic in places like Los Angeles or New York City. The potential comeback of supersonic flight, this time with fuel-efficient and quiet designs that are economically viable and able to fly over areas with high population densities. Moreover, the successful first flights from companies such as Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin are enabling an entirely new market for space tourism.
In this presentation, Dr. Anita Sengupta will leverage her extensive experience in ground, air, and space travel to illuminate the particulars of these promising new forms of transportation, and we will learn where the most likely advancements may impact our daily commute.
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 over 20 years. Her career began with launch vehicles and communication satellites at Boeing Space and Communications.
She then worked for NASA for 16 years where her engineering projects included her Ph.D. 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 onboard the International Space Station