Priyanka Das, 26, is an Indian girl from the beautiful state of Assam. She has been honored with the title of ambassador by France for its initiative – “For Girls and Science”. This initiative was launched by France in the year 2014 to encourage girls to choose careers in the fields of science and technology. Priyanka is also among the very few lucky people to work for the development of the satellite navigation wing of Rafale Fighter Jets in India which will be used for the Indian Air Force in the year 2019.
Priyanka’s father, Mr. Manoj Das, is DGM (Advisory & Consultancy) in North Eastern Development Finance Corporation Ltd (NEDFi) and her mother is a senior medical officer in Delhi. The young scientist has been contributing her expert knowledge in satellite navigation for the French Defence Company, Safran while pursuing her Ph.D. Talking about the French Government’s initiative for girls, to The Times of India, Priyanka Das said, “As part of the programme, we meet middle school and high school students, and through talks and presentations, we try to clear the misconceptions about scientists and women in science.” The initiative is linked to the L’Oreal Women in Science programme that awards five women scientists each year in collaboration with UNESCO. is linked to the L’Oreal Women in Science programme that awards five women scientists each year in collaboration with UNESCO. Its main aim is to promote scientific vocations among the youth, especially girls, and inspire them to become scientists in the future. It is supported by the Ministry of National Education of France and the L’Oreal Foundation.
Priyanka Das’s Ph.D. topic is, ‘Robust and Precise Navigation using Tightly-coupled Hybridisation of Inertial and GNSS Phase Measurements’. “I’m working on a very specific matter on how to make positioning more robust and precise. It can have applications as one of the many sensor information used by autonomous systems like a self-driving car for self-localization,” explained Priyanka Das.
Priyanka also remembered her visit to the defense company, “I had the chance of visiting Safran when I was a first-year student at Polytechnique. It was a visit organized by ISAE Supaero, an aerospace engineering school in the south of France. I was very impressed with the work they did at Safran and dreamt of working there one day.”
Coming back to her achievement of working with the Indian government on satellite navigation wing of Rafale Fighter Jets project, it is important to mention that the engine and parts of the Rafale fighter plane are provided by Safran Electronics and Priyanka and her team of engineers, before joining Safran, had already made a microsatellite in Paris. The same microsatellite was launched in space in the Atlas V rocket in 2017 to study the thermosphere.
“Yes! My touch is there somewhere in space” Priyanka Das says proudly! Priyanka is presently working for Safran Electronics and Defense, headquartered in France. She is a Ph.D. student at ISAE-SUPAERO, a world leader in aerospace engineering higher education located in Toulouse, France and supervised by the French Ministry of Defence.
Priyanka’s area of research is precise point positioning and navigation of man-made satellites. Talking about her research, Priyanka expressed her hope that her findings may give a new direction to self-driving vehicle technology. She also informed that her dreams of becoming an aerospace engineer started when she was a student of St. Stephen’s College, Delhi inspired by her Physics Professor Dr. Vikram Phukan, reports ISAE-SUPAERO. After this she joined Ecole Polytechnique for its four-year Ingénieur Polytechnicien program (promotion X2013), specializing her third year in Data Science. In her fourth year, she joined ISAE-Supaéro for a double masters degree in Aerospace Engineering, specializing in Autonomous Systems and Data Science.
Priyanka Das also participated in ‘Acquintan Space’ competition organized by France space agency CNES and got the first place in Paris region and was one among the top five in the country. She was also chosen for the Caltech space challenge among 32 young scientists across the globe. She has been honored with French Nationality by the French Government for her immense contribution towards the navigation system of Great ‘Rafale’ Aircraft.
To conclude, all I can say is that it seems to be just the beginning of a great journey for Priyanka Das. No doubt she is one of those wonderful women who is needed not just in India but in the whole world! Way to Priyanka. We are so proud of you.