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Meet Sanjal Gavande, Maharashtra Woman Who Helped Build Jeff Bezos' Space Rocket

Sanjal Gavande, had earlier applied to NASA, but failed to get the job due to citizenship-related issues.

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<div class="paragraphs"><p>Sanjal Gavande, 30-year-old woman from Kalyan, Maharashtra.</p></div>
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Sanjal Gavande, a 30-year-old woman from Maharashtra's Kalyan, is one of the people who helped build New Shephard, the unmanned suborbital rocket by Blue Origin, that took Jeff Bezos to space this year.

Who is Sanjal Gavande?

A mechanical engineering graduate from Mumbai University, Gavande pursued her masters from the Michigan Technology University in 2011. "She always wanted to build a spaceship and that is the reason she chose aerospace as a subject while pursuing her master's degree at Michigan Technological University," her father Ashok Gavande told India Today.

Sanjal is the child of a municipal corporation employee and a retired MTNL official.

After graduating from Michigan Technology University, Gavande went on to work for the marine engine division of Mercury Marine as a design analysis engineer. After three years there, she joined Toyota Racing Development as a mechanical design engineer.

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Rejected by NASA, She Opted for Pilot Training to Join Blue Origin

Gavande earlier applied for a job at NASA, but was not accepted due to citizenship and visa-related issues.

Sanjal is a certified Pilot and has been awarded the Pilot of the Year by Orange County, California chapter of Ninety-Nines, local chapter of the International Organization of Women Pilots.

Her father, in a statement to India Today mentioned it was her dream of being part of the Blue Origin that he opted for Pilot training in the US.

Surekha, her mother, said, "People told us that she is a girl, so why has she opted for mechanical engineering? I also thought sometimes about whether she would be able to handle such hard work. She has now made us all proud. She had a dream of design aerospace rockets and she has achieved it," in a statement to India Today.

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A Systems Engineer at Blue Origin

Sanjal has been with Blue Origin as a systems engineer since April this year and has also been working as a part-time public relations chair and chairman of the board of The Ninety-Nines, a non-profit educational organisation.

She was part of the team that built the New Shepherd, the sub orbital space rocket that took Jeff Bezos to space on 20 July, on the 52nd Anniversary of the Apollo mission. Sanjal, however, was not among the crew that went to space. She expressed her happiness to be a part of the mission, to The Times Of India.

I am really happy that my childhood dream is about to come true. I am proud to be a part of Team Blue Origin.
Sanjal Gavande told the TOI

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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