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SSPI-WISE Presents: From Village to Space with Pramoda Hegde

In this SSPI-WISE Presents podcast, guest host Divya-Kala Bhavani, General Manager for PR, Communications & Marketing at Dhruva Space and co-chair of the SSPI-WISE Elevating Women Working Group interviews Pramoda Hegde, former Mission Director of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). They discuss Pramoda’s journey from a small coastal village in India to Mission Director at the ISRO and how she continues in retirement to tour different villages across India to speak with young engineering hopefuls about the space industry. A note for non-Indian listeners of this podcast: the convention “Pramoda Ma’am” is an expression of respect for a female elder that is common in India.

Divya-Kala Bhavani oversees the Public Relations, Communications & Marketing activities at Dhruva Space, a full-stack Space engineering company and the first private Space-Technology company in India. Divya-Kala has previously worked as a journalist and National Technology Features Editor at The Hindu, one of India’s largest and oldest English daily newspapers. Divya-Kala holds a Master’s degree in Media & Communications Governance from London School of Economics, and a Bachelor’s (Hons) in Journalism from London College of Communication, University of the Arts London. Divya-Kala is an active member of HAPS Alliance and of Space and Satellite Professionals International and SSPI-WISE, where she is the Co-Chair of the Elevating Women Working Group.

Dhruva Space has been recognized twice by the Government of India, having been awarded the National Startup Award for its efforts in Satellite and Space Technology, and having been awarded the Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Telecom Excellence Award 2022 for the company’s work in the field of Satellite Communications. On 24 June 2022, Dhruva Space became one of the first private companies to receive authorization from IN-SPACe. The company has since completed three Space missions within 12 months; including the history-making Thybolt Mission, which saw the launch of India’s first two private satellites, Thybolt-1 and Thybolt-2, authorized by IN-SPACe, to be successfully deployed into orbit. In January 2024, Dhruva Space also successfully validated its P-30 Nanosatellite platform, which kicks off the company’s LEAP initiative of hosted payload solutions for the global market.

Pramoda Hegde is a former Mission Director at the Indian Space Research Organisation. Her career at ISRO spanned 32 years, during which she played pivotal roles in some of India’s historic Space missions. In 2011, Pramoda was designated as Mission Director for the GSAT-12 mission; this was the first time a woman was designated as Mission Director for a GEO Mission in ISRO’s history; additionally, this was also the first time all three key positions of a mission were handled by women. Pramoda also took on the roles of Project Manager, Operations Director, and Deputy Project Director for many other Geostationary satellite missions: INSAT-4A and INSAT-4B, GSAT-9 GSAT-12, GSAT-18, and GSAT-31.

After retiring from ISRO, Pramoda frequently delivers lectures at various research institutes across India, and is also known for her ‘From Village to Space’ storytelling sessions where she recounts her journey of growing up in Muroor, a small farming village in India, and eventually joining ISRO.




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 January 22, 2024