Motivations behind choosing Aero, expectations and reality?
I always wanted to work with aircrafts and spacecrafts since I was a kid and Aerospace was my first choice in terms of branches. I had read up on basics of principles of flight well before JEE admissions and even JEE preparation. I was aware of what the course of study would include. The reality was quite aligned with what I had thought. The B.Tech course gave a very broad overview of all the sectors involved in Aerospace, including structures, propulsion, aerodynamics, controls and design. The electives in the curriculum allowed me to study a particular area in greater detail.
Activities you were involved in?
I was involved with the Student Satellite Project, Pratham for almost 4 years at IIT-B. I worked with the integration and later the control systems team. I was also involved in aeromodelling, first as an enthusiast and later in a managerial role for a year. The student involvement in aeromodelling in the last 2 years of my stay at IITB was great. I had also made a conscious effort towards my academics and I found most of the courses to be very enjoyable.
What according to you are some of the exciting new areas in this field?
I think networked constellation of small satellites, autonomous aircrafts, intelligent systems, more environmentally aware civilian airspace will become key areas in the future. Space exploration initiatives are also taking off in India in terms of more advanced science missions and more capable launch systems.
What can freshmen expect from the department and IITB, job and higher studies prospects? Placements have a lot to do with individual motivation and initiative. However I can say that the curriculum was well balanced and provided a good overview of the aerospace sector. In addition the institute core curriculum also does a good job of arming one with the tools required work in non-aerospace sectors like finance, consulting or management. Higher studies is also an option I would strongly recommend. The institute, department and the faculty are well known around the world. Many alumni of the department are working towards or have completed post graduate degrees in many universities worldwide.
What are you currently involved in?
I am currently at MIT and working towards my PhD in Aeronautics and Astronautics. My area of research is in autonomous systems. I am interested in developing ways for an intelligent agent to perform combined task and motion level planning. The scientific and mathematical tools I use involve control theory and some basics of planning algorithms.
How did IITB and the Aerospace Department help shape your life?
I had a very enjoyable four years at the Aerospace department. I enjoyed the courses and the learning. I found the faculty to be very approachable and friendly. But above all, the thing I value the most was my time with the Satellite project. I learnt a lot about engineering by actually working towards building a system and working with others in a team. I found great friends amongst the student mentors of the team. I also improved a lot technically in preparing and facing the tough questions during project reviews by our faculty mentors. I feel I must espcially thank Prof Sudhakar for always being there to guide me in my journey through IIT-B right from the Introductory Course, through Pratham and my final year project.
Aviation is the pinnacle of all the engineering disciplines. It is that field where the cream of all engineering comes together to help man realize his wildest dream, that of flying. Like most kids, I was always fascinated by flying. However, what interested me the most was not just the flying itself, but what actually goes into building something that can fly. The undergrad aerospace curriculum set me on my first steps to understanding just that. And the journey didn’t end there. I got inspired by what I had learnt during my undergrad to pursue post-graduate studies in Aerospace. Currently, I am a doctoral candidate in the Aerospace Engineering department at Georgia Institute of Technology.
The professors at IITB AE are renowned experts in their respective fields and are all involved, directly or indirectly, in shaping the future of aviation in our nation. They serve as experts on issues of national defense and commercial aviation, act as consultants to leading aerospace firms and lead research efforts to expand the frontiers of science in general and aviation in particular. Though a bit intimidating at first, once you get to know them better, you find a treasure trove of knowledge, experience and insight within each and every professor.
Toward this end of getting to know a professor beyond what is taught in class, the AE school offers a Supervised Learning Program (SLP) wherein a student works under the guidance of a professor for a semester of research. I did two SLPs during my undergrad and I learnt loads from them; not only about technical issues but issues relating to how research is carried out in teams, how knowledge sharing is done, how to communicate and present and defend your work and how a large scale problem which is beyond any you have seen in class can be tackled by breaking it into bits and tapping into the expertise and dedication of the team members. I am still using those lessons I learnt today in my research effort here at Georgia Tech.
Finally, at IITB, you would be surrounded by gems of people. People so sharp, so motivated and so clear in their thought process that you would always have someone to look up to, someone to be strive to be better than, someone to be inspired by and someone to learn something from. That is the most important thing about IITB in that it teaches you to always set the bar high. It gives you the confidence to take on any problem, any challenge knowing that giving it your best shot would most likely result in something exciting. At IITB AE specifically, I can confidently assert that I learnt as much from my peers as I did from my professors.
Aviation in India is poised for big things and you are going to be the leaders to take our nation onto the frontiers of aviation and beyond.
Explore the department beyond books!
Zephyr is IIT Bombay’s annual Aviation festival that has now grown to become one of the biggest aviation festivals in India. What started off as an annual congregation of Aerospace enthusiasts and budding engineers of IIT Bombay, has now established itself as a pioneer herald of Aerospace for engineering students. It aims to provide a platform for students, scientists, professors and the industry to come together, showcase their work and exchange ideas. Lectures, workshops, competitions, exhibitions, Zephyr has it all, attracting over 3000 highquality participants and many corporate partners every year.
The IIT Bombay Student Satellite Project is a landmark project taken up by IIT Bombay students. The objective of this project is to make IIT Bombay a respected centre for advancement in Satellite and Space Technology in the world. The project aims at launching at least 5 satellites within the next few years. These Satellites could be testbeds for new technology that is being developed in the institute and also a method for space qualification.
The students of the Department of Aerospace Engineering at IIT Bombay, have now revived the "Schools Outreach Programme". This new initiative called "Udaan" will create awareness about Aerospace Engineering among the school students. They are supported by Aerospace Engineering Association of the Department.
The Mars Society India is a part of a global community that shares a common vision of a manned Mars Exploration and strives to achieve this unprecedented feat in the coming years. The society was formed by a group of IIT Bombay students and hopes to develop into an epitome of space research in the country. We aspire to engage the students and public in general with the developments in space exploration through our projects and awareness programmes.
The objective of the team is to develop a robust unmanned aerial platform to be used for a variety of applications including, but not limited to
Conservation and Wildlife (Health monitoring of forest, Tracking poachers)
￼￼￼￼Supporting Search and Rescue operations for lost personnel
Providing relief measures in disaster stricken areas (Landslide, Floods, Earthquake etc.)
Surveys and mapping of cities
The team works towards participating at AUVSI Robosub Competition, which is held annually in July at San Diego, California. The competition is a platform for students to display their skills in underwater robotics and build a connection with industries working along similar verticals. The competition demands designing and manufacturing of an autonomous underwater vehicle that can perform predefined tasks.