Indian-origin engineer Bob Balaram is the man behind Mars Ingenuity helicopter, who has worked with Nasa for 20 years.
Nasa’s ambitious miniature robot helicopter Ingenuity took flight above the dusty surface of Mars on Monday, making it the first powered flight on another planet. Significantly, Indian-origin engineer Bob Balaram is the man behind Ingenuity. He has worked with Nasa for 20 years.
Ingenuity Mars helicopter is the first powered, controlled flight by an aircraft over the surface of another planet. With this, Nasa marked it as a 21st-century Wright Brothers moment on Monday.
Bob Balaram, who is an IIT-Madras alumnus from the 1975-80 batch, is Ingenuity’s chief engineer. He studied B.Tech, Mechanical Engineering at the prestigious institute.
After IIT-Madras, Bob Balaram did his MS, Computer and System Engineering from America’s oldest technological research university Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and also completed his PhD from the institute.
The Apollo Moon landing mission had developed his interest in space and science.
Bob Balaram is now working with Nasa at its Jet Propulsion Laboratory as a Chief Engineer for Mars Helicopter Scout Project. He has been associated with Nasa for 20 years.
Previously, Bob researched precision landing methods for Mars and also worked on advanced simulation techniques for planetary entry, descent, and landing (EDL).
While working with Nasa, Bob Balaram also led the team that developed a high-fidelity EDL simulator. The simulation was used in Curiosity and Perseverance rover missions.
Source: India today