"SLS is the most powerful rocket in the world."
US Indian woman Subashini Iyer will be overseeing a crucial part of NASA’s return to the moon after nearly 50 years.
She will oversee Artemis’ core stage as NASA prepares to send a spacecraft into deep space.
“It has been nearly 50 years since we last stepped on the moon.
“We are getting ready to take humans back to the moon and beyond, to Mars.”
Artemis will be an unmanned flight of the spacecraft Orion, the first of three missions to the moon and Mars.
Orion will travel 280,000 miles from Earth, thousands of miles beyond the moon in a three-week mission.
In that time, it will collect data while mission controllers will go over the performance of the spacecraft to set the stage for Artemis II.
At that stage, a crewed spacecraft will orbit the moon.
In 2024, Artemis III will take astronauts to the moon.
As the launch integrated product team lead with Boeing, Subashini is engaged with the component of Artemis which will take Orion into space as part of the Space Launch System (SLS).
Its core stage arrived at Florida’s Kennedy Space Centre in late April 2021.
Subashini has been involved with SLS since 2019.
She said: “SLS is the most powerful rocket in the world.
“Boeing is responsible for building the rocket’s core stage, which contains the main propulsion system and avionics (electronic systems).
“It is designed to operate for about 500 seconds, reach 530,000 feet in altitude before breaking away.
“My role involves overseeing any post-production support that NASA needs once the core stage is built and handed over to NASA.
“The major parts of the Artemis rocket have all been built and tested separately.
“My team from Boeing is going to support NASA at Kennedy Space Centre with assembly, integration and testing.
“We will also be monitoring data displays and providing support on launch day.”
The launch is set to take place in November 2021.
Subashini was one of the first women to graduate in mechanical engineering from VLB Janakiammal College Of Arts and Science.
She told Times of India: “I was the fourth batch from my college with a mechanical engineering degree and one of the first women to do so.
“I was asked to find another woman ‘for safety’. I had to convince a friend.”
Subashini Iyer now leads a team of mechanical and electrical engineers.
“Involved with the SLS launch are engineers who have been part of the human space exploration program for 30-40 years since the shuttle days.
“There are engineers who are new.
“I also have the pleasure of leading women and people from different countries.
“My manager, the director of production, test and launch, is a woman. Her manager, vice-president of space and launch engineering, is as well.
“The NASA SLS launch director and NASA core stage element leader are women.
“It has been great seeing more women in the field.”