India born Subhashini Iyer is overseeing the rocket’s core stage of NASA’s ambitious project Artemis, which is all set to send a spacecraft into deep space. Iyer who was born in Coimbatore has been associated with Space Launch System (SLS) for about two years.
Iyer, who was one of the first women graduates in mechanical engineering in her college, VLB Janakiammal College in 1992, said to TOI, that the organisation is ready to take humans back to the moon and beyond, 50 years after humans last stepped on the moon.
Iyer is responsible for the component of the Artemis I which will take the spacecraft, Orion, into space, i.e. the Space Launch System (SLS). The stage of the SLS arrived at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida in late April.
In an interview with Times Of India, Iyer said that SLS is the most powerful rocket in the world and is responsible for building the rocket’s core stage which contains the propulsion and electronic systems.
The rocket is designed to operate for about 500 seconds and to reach the height of 530,000 feet before breaking away. Iyer’s role in this involves overseeing any post-production support that NASA needs after the core stage is built and handed over to the organisation.
The launch of Artemis I is scheduled for November this year.
Now leading a diverse team of mechanical and electrical engineers, Iyer was the fourth batch from her college with a mechanical engineering degree and was one of the first women to do so.
When she got placed, Iyer was the only woman in her batch and was asked to find another woman ‘for safety, hence she had to convince a friend. In the interview, Iyer said that at the organisation, she has the pleasure of leading women and people from different countries.
She further added that the director of the production, test and launch, vice president of space and launch engineering, director of NASA SLS launch, and element leader of the NASA core stage, are all women, and she feels great seeing more women in the field.