Bangladesh’s Antara among 2023 IAF Emerging Space Leaders

October 13, 2023

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Raihana Shams Islam Antara, a lecturer in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Brac University, has earned the prestigious title of a 2023 IAF Emerging Space Leader (ESL) by the International Astronautical Federation (IAF), marking a significant achievement in the field of space technology.

With a strong commitment to achieving self-reliance in space technology for her nation and advocating for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) education, Antara is a trailblazer in the global space community.

Among more than 150 young professionals from over 80 countries worldwide, the federation committee selected 34 young people this year from the nations with space capabilities who are in space careers between the ages of 21 and 35 and enhancing space and related activities in their home countries.

This recognition is to actively engage, inspire, and support the next generation of students and young professionals in the space field to prepare them to be the future leaders of the international space community.

As part of the recognition, Antara, along with 33 others, travelled to Azerbaijan’s capital Bakuto receive the award and present research paper at the 74th International Astronautical Congress (IAC 2023).

Antara’s journey in space technology began with her involvement as an engineer in the development of Bangladesh’s inaugural satellite, BRAC Onnesha. She furthered her academic pursuits by earning an MSc. in Applied Science for Integrated Systems Engineering from Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan.

Her specialization as a Space Systems Engineer, coupled with a diverse background encompassing Antenna Technology, Communications, Embedded Systems, and Robotics, has shaped her into a versatile space professional.

“It is such an incredible privilege to be recognized for my work and contributions to the field of space technology,” she said in reaction to the recognition.

“It was my pleasure to represent Bangladesh at the world’s largest space congress. More than 5400 delegates from 132 countries gathered in Baku for the world’s largest space congress, making it the most diverse IAC ever held in history,” Antara added.

Her impressive track record includes contributing to the Joint Global Multi-Nation Birds satellite project, fondly known as the “Birds Project,” and earning the prestigious AIRBUS GEDC Diversity Award in 2017.

For her substantial contributions to the BRAC Onnesha project, she was honoured with the ACI Limited Bangladesh’s 2018 Science and Technology youth excellence award.

As the first female participant from Bangladesh in the Cansat Leaders Training program, Antara’s passion for advancing space technology is evident.

Currently, she serves as a lecturer in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Brac University and co-founded the Laboratory of Space Systems Engineering & Technology (LASSET) at the School of Engineering within the university.

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