Dr. Sarag Saikia research interest and experience lie in the general area of space mission concept formulation, spacecraft aerocapture, entry, descent and landing; design of planetary probes and instrument concepts; advanced spacecraft concepts (e.g. mobility technologies for extreme environments such as those on Solar System's ocean worlds, Europa, Enceladus, and Titan); early mission concept formulation; and human exploration mission architecture design to the Moon and Mars leading to permanence. Working closely withÂ JPL, Dr. Saikia developed concurrent engineering capabilities to develop early mission concept studies at Purdue Universityâ€”the only such capability known to exist in academia.
After graduating with a Ph.D. in Astronautical Engineering from the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University in August 2015, Sarag Saikia joined his alma mater as a visiting assistant professor. Prof. Saikia holds a bachelorâ€™s degree in electrical engineering with distinction from Nagpur University, India, and a masterâ€™s degree in Astronautics from Purdue. Sarag briefly worked in the iron/steel industry followed by policy research in the energy and power sector of India.
For his Ph.D., Dr. Saikia worked with Prof. Jim Longuski (a JPL veteran) on analytical theories for spacecraft aerocapture, entry, descent, and landing; and advanced EDL concepts. His Ph.D. dissertation is titled, â€œAnalytical Theories for Spacecraft Entry Into Planetary Atmospheres and Design of Planetary Probes.â€ His major advisor was Professor James Longuski with co-advisor, Professor Michael Grant. For his work, he has won the best paper awards for two consecutive years (2013 and 2014) at the International Planetary Probe Workshop (IPPW). Dr. Saikia works closely with NASA Centers, Industry, NASAâ€™s VEXAG and OPAG communities.
Dr. Saikia served as the lead mission design advisor for Spring 2015 Project Aldrin-Purdue, "Cycling pathway to establish a permanent human presence on Mars." Dr. Saikia continues to work very closely with Dr. Aldrin.
(Image: Dr. Saikia with Apollo astronaut and second man to land on Moon, Dr. Buzz Aldrin.)