"I am proud to be a part of Team Blue Origin."
Sanjal Gavande is among a team of engineers who built Blue Origin’s spacecraft New Shepard.
The spacecraft will take billionaire Jeff Bezos and three others to space later in July 2021.
Sanjal is a systems engineer at the commercial spaceflight company and graduated from the University of Mumbai in mechanical engineering.
She travelled to the United States in 2011 for her Masters’ degree in mechanical engineering from Michigan Technological University.
Sanjal said: “I am really happy that my childhood dream is about to come true.
“I am proud to be a part of Team Blue Origin.”
Instead, she decided to do aerospace and graduated with a first-class degree.
Her father, Ashok Gavande said:
“She always wanted to build a spaceship and that is the reason she chose aerospace as a subject while pursuing her Masters’ degree at Michigan Technological University.”
After completing her Masters’, Sanjal worked with Mercury Marine, the marine engine division of Brunswick Corporation.
She worked at Mercury Marine for three years, first as a design analysis intern and then as a design analysis engineer.
Sanjal then joined Toyota Racing Development as a mechanical design engineer.
However, she encountered obstacles as she applied for a space engineering job at NASA but she was not selected over citizenship issues.
Her mother, Surekha said:
“People told us that she is a girl, so why has she opted for mechanical engineering?
“I also thought sometimes about whether she would be able to handle such hard work.
“She has now made us all proud. She had a dream of design aerospace rockets and she has achieved it.”
Ashok added: “We just supported her and she achieved everything on her own.”
Since April 2021, Sanjal has been working with Blue Origin in Seattle as a systems engineer.
She and a team of engineers have now built the New Shepard spacecraft that will be used for Jeff Bezos’ space flight.
Sanjal Gavande was also a part-time public relations chair and chairperson of the board of the non-profit educational organisation, The Ninety-Nines.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos will travel from Texas onboard the New Shepard rocket for a 10-minutes flight to space.
Accompanying him will be his brother Mark, American aviator Wally Funk and Dutch teenager Oliver Daeman.
New Shepard is reportedly a 60-foot-tall and fully autonomous rocket-and-capsule combo that cannot be piloted from inside the spacecraft.
Bezos will become the second person to ride his own rocket into space, after Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson.